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Full text of "On the fourfold root of the principle of sufficient reason, and On the will in nature; two essays. Translated by Mme. Karl Hillebrand"

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IN venturing to lay the present translation x before the 
public, I am aware of the great difficulties of my task, 
and indeed can hardly hope to do justice to the Author. 
In fact, had it not been for the considerations I am about 
to state, I might probably never have published what had 
originally been undertaken in order to acquire a clearer 
comprehension of these essays, rather than with a view to 

The two treatises which form the contents of the present 
volume have so much importance for a profound and cor- 
rect knowledge of Schopenhauer s philosophy, that it may 
even be doubted whether the translation of his chief work, 
"Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung," can contribute much 
towards the appreciation of his system without the help at 
least of the " Yierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom zureichenden 
Grande." Schopenhauer himself repeatedly and urgently 
insists upon a previous thorough knowledge of Kant s 
philosophy, as the basis, and of his own " Fourfold Boot," 
as the key, to his own system, asserting that knowledge to 
be the indispensable condition for a right comprehension 
of his meaning. So far as I am aware, neither the " Four 
fold Root" nor the "Will in Nature " have as yet found 
a translator ; therefore, considering the dawning interest 
which has begun to make itself felt for Schopenhauer s 
philosophy in England and in America, and the fact that 

1 From the fourth edition by Julius Frauenstadt. " Fourfold Boot," 
Leipzig, 1875 ; "Will in Nature," Leipzig, 1878. 


no more competent scholar has come forward to do the 
work, it may not seem presumptuous to suppose that this 
version may be acceptable to those who wish to acquire 
a more than superficial knowledge of this remarkable 
thinker, yet whose acquaintance with German does not 
permit them to read his works in the original. 

Now although some portions of both the Essays pub 
lished in the present volume have of course become an 
tiquated, owing to the subsequent development of the 
empirical sciences, while others such as, for instance, 
Schopenhauer s denunciation of plagiarism in the cases of 
Brandis and Rosas in the beginning of Physiology and 
Pathology 1 can have no interest for the reader of the pre 
sent day, I have nevertheless given them just as he left 
them and refrained from all suppression or alteration. And 
if, on the whole, the " Will in Nature " may be less indis 
pensable for a right understanding of our philosopher s 
views than the " Fourfold Root," being merely a record of 
the confirmations which had been contributed during his 
lifetime by the various branches of Natural Science to 
his doctrine, that the thing in itself is the will, the Second 
Essay has nevertheless in its own way quite as much im 
portance as the First, and is, in a sense, its complement. 
For they both throw light on Schopenhauer s view of the 
Universe in its double aspect as Will and as Representation, 
each being as it were a resume of the exposition of one of 
those aspects. My plea for uniting them in one volume, in 
spite of the difference of their contents and the wide lapse 
of time (seventeen years) which lies between them, must be, 
that they complete each other, and that their great weight 
and intrinsic value seem to point them out as peculiarly 
fitted to be introduced to the English thinker. 

In endeavouring to convey the Author s thoughts as he 

J See " Will in Nature," pp. 9-18 of the original j pp. 224-234 of the 
present translation. 


expresses them, I have necessarily encountered many and 
great difficulties. His meaning, though always clearly ex 
pressed, is not always easy to seize, even for his countrymen ; 
as a foreigner, therefore, I may often have failed to grasp, 
let alone adequately to render, that meaning. In this case 
besides, the responsibility for any want of perspicuity cannot 
be shifted by the translator on to the Author ; since the 
consummate perfection of Schopenhauer s prose is univer 
sally recognised, even by those who reject, or at least who do 
not share, his views. An eminent German writer of our time 
has not hesitated to rank him immediately after Lessing 
and Gothe as the third greatest German prose-writer, and 
only quite recently a German professor, in a speech de 
livered with the intent of demolishing Schopenhauer s 
philosophy, was reluctantly obliged to admit that his works 
would remain on account of their literary value. Gothe 
himself expressed admiration for the clearness of exposition 
in Schopenhauer s chief work and for the beauty of his style. 
The chief obstacle I have encountered in translating these 
Essays, did not therefore consist in the obscurity of the 
Author s style, nor even in the difficulty of finding appro 
priate terms wherewith to convey his meaning ; although at 
times certainly the want of complete precision in our philo 
sophical terminology made itself keenly felt and the selec 
tion was often far from easy : it lay rather in the great diffe 
rence in the way of thinking and of expressing their thoughts 
which lies between the two nations. The regions of German 
and English thought are indeed separated by a gulf, which 
at first seems impassable, yet which must be bridged over by 
some means or other, if a right comprehension is to be 
achieved. The German writer loves to develop syntheti 
cally a single thought in a long period consisting of various 
members ; he proceeds steadily to unravel the seemingly 
tangled skein, while he keeps the reader ever on the alert, 
making him assist actively in the process and never letting 


him lose sight of the main thread. The English author, 
on the contrary, anxious before all things to avoid 
confusion and misunderstanding, and ready for this end 
not only to sacrifice harmony of proportion in construction, 
but to submit to the necessity of occasional artificial join 
ing, usually adopts the analytical method. He prefers to 
divide the thread of his discourse into several smaller 
skeins, easier certainly to handle and thus better suiting 
the convenience of the English thinker, to whom long 
periods are trying and bewildering, and who is not always 
willing to wait half a page or more for the point of a 
sentence or the gist of a thought. Wherever it could be 
done without interfering seriously with the spirit of the 
original, I have broken up the longer periods in these essays 
into smaller sentences, in order to facilitate their compre 
hension. At times however Schopenhauer recapitulates a 
whole side of his view of the Universe in a single period 
of what seems intolerable length to the English reader : 
as, for instance, the resume contained in the Introduction 
to his "Will in Nature," l which could not be divided without 
damage to his meaning. Here therefore it did not seem 
advisable to sacrifice the unity and harmony of his design 
and to disturb both his form and his meaning, in order to 
minister to the reader s dislike for mental exertion ; in 
keeping the period intact I have however endeavoured to 
make it as easy to comprehend as possible by the way in 
which the single parts are presented to the eye. 

As regards the terms chosen to convey the German 
meaning, I can hardly hope to have succeeded in every 
case in adequately rendering it, still less can I expect to 
have satisfied my English readers. Several words of fre 
quent occurrence and of considerable importance for the 
right understanding of the original, have been used at 

1 Pp. 2 and 3 of the original, and pp. 216 to 218 of the present 


different times by different English philosophers in senses 
so various, that, until our philosophical terminology has 
by universal consent attained far greater precision than at 
present, it must always be difficult for the writer or translator 
to convey to the reader s mind precisely the same thought 
that was in his own. To prevent unnecessary confusion 
however, by leaving too much to chance, I will here briefly 
state those terms which give most latitude for misappre 
hension, explaining the sense in which I employ them and 
also the special meaning attached to some of them by 
Schopenhauer, who often differs in this from other writers. 
They are as follows. 

(a..) Anschauung (anschauen, literally to behold ) I 
have rendered differently, according to its double mean 
ing in German. When used to designate the mental act by 
which an object is perceived, as the cause of a sensation 
received, it is rendered by perception. When used to lay 
stress upon immediate, as opposed to abstract representa 
tion, it is rendered by intuition. This last occurs however 
more often in the adjective form. 

(b.) Vorstellung (vorstellen, literally * to place before ) I 
render by representation in spite of its foreign, unwelcome 
sound to the English ear, as being the term which nearest 
approaches the G-erman meaning. The faculty of repre 
sentation is defined by Schopenhauer himself as " an 
exceedingly complicated physiological process in the brain 
of an animal, the result of which is the consciousness of a 
picture there." 

(c.) Auffassung (auffassen, literally to catch up ) has so 
many shades of meaning in G-erman that it has to be 
translated in many different ways according to the relation 
in which it stands in the context. It signifies apprehension, 
comprehension, perception, viewing and grasping. 

(d.) Wahrnehmung (^ ^ihrnehmen, from wahr, true, and 
nehmen, to take), is translated by apprehension or perception, 

according to the degree of consciousness which accom 
panies it. 

But the two words which have proved most difficult to 
translate, have been Vernehmen and Willkuhr. 

(e.) Vernehmen means, to distinguish by the sense of 
hearing. This word conveys a shade of thought which it 
is almost impossible to render in English, because we 
have no word by which to distinguish, from mere sen 
suous hearing, a sort of hearing which implies more than 
hearing and less than comprehension. The French en 
tendre comes nearer to it than our hearing, but implies 
more comprehension than vernehmen. 

(/.) As to Willkuhr (arbitrium, literally will-choice ), 
after a great deal of consideration I have chosen (relative) 
free-will as the nearest approach to the German sense, or at 
any rate, to that in which Schopenhauer uses it. Willkuhr 
means in fact what is commonly understood as free-will ; 
i.e. will with power of choice, will determined by motives 
and unimpeded by outward obstacles : arbitrium as opposed 
to voluntas: conscious will as opposed to blind impulse. 
This relative free-will however is quite distinct from absolute 
free-will (liberum arbitrium indiferentice) in a metaphysical 
sense, i.e. will in its self -dependency. When its arbitrary 
character is specially emphasized, we call Willkuhr, caprice, 
but this is not the usual meaning given to it by Schopenhauer. 

Besides the meaning of these German words, I have still 
to define the sense in which I have used the term idea in 
this translation ; for this word has greatly changed its mean 
ing at different times and with different authors, and is even 
now apt to confuse and mislead. Schopenhauer has himself 
contributed in one way to render its signification less 
clear ; since, in spite of his declaration in the " Fourfold 
Hoot " x to the effect, that he never uses the word idea in 

1 See p. 113, 34 of the original, and p. 133 of the present translation. 

any other than its original (Platonic) sense, he has himself 
employed it to translate Vorstellung, in a specimen he 
gives of a rendering of a passage in Kant s "Prolego 
mena" in a letter addressed to Haywood, published in 
Gwinner s " Biography of Schopenhauer." This he pro 
bably did because some eminent English and French philo 
sophers had taken the word in this sense, thinking perhaps 
that Kant s meaning would thus be more readily under 
stood. As however he uses the word idea everywhere 
else exclusively in its original (Platonic) sense, I have pre 
ferred to avoid needless confusion by adhering to his own 
declaration and definition. Besides, many English writers 
of note have protested against any other sense being given 
to it, and modern German philosophers have more and 
more returned to the original meaning of the term. 

Some readers may take exception at such expressions as 
a priority, motivation, aseity ; for they are not, strictly 
speaking, English words. These terms however belong to 
Schopenhauer s own characteristic terminology, and have 
a distinct and clearly denned meaning ; therefore they had 
to be retained in all cases in which they could not be 
evaded, in order not to interfere with the Author s intention : 
a necessity which the scholar will not fail to recognise, 
especially when I plead in my defence that fidelity and 
accuracy have been my sole aim in this work. 

If moreover Carlyte s words, " He who imports into his 
own country any true delineation, any rationally spoken 
word on any subject, has done well," are true, I may also be 
absolved from censure, if I lay before the public this version 
of some important utterances of a great thinker, in the 
hope that it may be an assistance in, and an incitement to, 
a deeper study of all Schopenhauer s works. 


May, 1888. 




Translator s Preface . v 

Author s Preface to the Second Edition .... xvii 

Editor s Preface to the Third Edition xx 
Editor s Preface to the Fourth Edition e . . xxviii 

I. Introduction 1 

II. General Survey of the most important views hitherto held 

concerning the Principle of Sufficient Reason . . 6 

III. Insufficiency of the Old and outlines of a New Demon 

stration 28 

IV. On the First Glass of Objects for the Subject, and that form 

of the Principle of Sufficient Reason which predominates 

in it 31 

V. On the Second Class of Objects for the Subject and that 
form of the Principle of Sufficient Reason which pre 
dominates in it 114 

VI. On the Third Class of Objects for the Subject and that 
form of the Principle of Sufficient Reason which pre 
dominates in it 153 

VII. On the Fourth Class of Objects for the Subject, and that 
form of the Principle of Sufficient Reason which pre 
dominates in it 165 

VIIL General observations and results .... 177 




Preface to the Second Edition 193 

Editor s Preface to the Third Edition 213 

Editor s Preface to the Fourth Edition 214 

Introduction 215 

Physiology and Pathology 224 

Comparative Anatomy 252 

Physiology of Plants 281 

Physical Astronomy 305 

Linguistic 322 

Animal Magnetism and Magic 326 

Sinology 359 

Eeference to Ethics . . .372 

Conclusion , . ,378 





Nat /id rbv afttr tpy, ^ V X^ irapadovra rcrpajcrvv, 
Ilaydv dei dou <f>v 


THIS treatise on Elementary Philosophy, which first 
appeared in the year 1813, when it procured for me 
the degree of doctor, afterwards became the substructure 
for the whole of my system. It cannot, therefore, be 
allowed to remain out of print, as has been the case, 
without niy knowledge, for the last four years. 

On the other hand, to send a juvenile work like this 
once more into the world with all its faults and blemishes, 
seemed to me unjustifiable. For I am aware that the 
time cannot be very far off when all correction will be 
impossible ; but with that time the period of my real 
influence will commence, and this period, I trust, will 
be a long one, for I firmly rely upon Seneca s promise: 
" Etiamsi omnibus tecum viventibus silentium livor in- 
dixerit ; venient qui sine offensa, sine gratia judicent" T I 
have done what I could, therefore, to improve this work 
of my youth, and, considering the brevity and uncertainty 
of life, I must even regard it as an especially fortunate 
circumstance, to have been thus permitted to correct in 
my sixtieth year what I had written in my twenty- sixth. 

Nevertheless, while doing this, I meant to deal leniently 
with my younger self, and to let him discourse, nay, even 
speak his mind freely, wherever it was possible. But 

1 Seneca, Ep. 79. 


wherever he had advanced what was incorrect or super 
fluous, or had even left out the best part, I have been 
obliged to interrupt the thread of his discourse. And 
this has happened often enough ; so often, indeed, that 
some of my readers may perhaps think they hear an old 
man reading a young man s book aloud, while he frequently 
lets it drop, in order to indulge in digressions of his own 
on the same subject. 

It is easy to see that a work thus corrected after so long 
an interval, could never acquire the unity and rounded 
completeness which only belong to such as are written in 
one breath. So great a difference will be found even in style 
and expression, that no reader of any tact can ever be in 
doubt whether it be the older or younger man who is speak 
ing. For the contrast is indeed striking between the mild, 
unassuming tone in which the youth who is still simple 
enough to believe quite seriously that for all whose pur 
suit is philosophy, truth, and truth alone, can have im 
portance, and therefore that whoever promotes truth is 
sure of a welcome from them propounds his arguments 
with confidence, and the firm, but also at times somewhat 
harsh voice of the old man, who in course of time has 
necessarily discovered the true character and real aims of 
the noble company of mercenary time-servers into which 
he has fallen. Nay, the just reader will hardly find fault 
with him should he occasionally give free vent to his 
indignation; since we see what comes of it when people 
who profess to have truth for their sole aim, are always 
occupied in studying the purposes of their powerful 
superiors, and when the e quovis ligno fit Mercurius is 
extended even to the greatest philosophers, and a clumsy 
charlatan, like Hegel, is calmly classed among them ? 
Verily German Philosophy stands before us loaded with 
contempt, the laughing-stock of other nations, expelled 
from all honest science like the prostitute who sells her- 


self for sordid hire to-day to one, to-morrow to another ; 
and the brains of the present generation of savants are 
disorganised by Hegelian nonsense : incapable of reflec 
tion, coarse and bewildered, they fall a prey to the low 
Materialism which has crept out of the basilisk s egg. 
Good speed to them. I return to my subject. 

My readers will thus have to get over the difference of 
tone in this treatise ; for I could not do here what I had 
done in my chief work, that is, give the later additions I 
had made in a separate appendix. Besides, it is of no 
consequence that people should know what I wrote in my 
twenty-sixth and what in my sixtieth year ; the only matter 
of real importance is, that those who wish to find their way 
through the fundamental principles of all philosophizing, 
to gain a firm footing and a clear insight, should in these 
few sheets receive a little volume by which they may learn 
something substantial, solid, and true : and this, I hope, 
will be the case. From the expansion now given to some 
portions, it has even grown into a compendious theory of 
the entire faculty of knowing, and this theory, by limiting 
itself strictly to the research of the Principle of Sufficient 
Reason, shows the matter from a new and peculiar side ; 
but then it finds its completion in the First Book of " The 
World as Will and Representation," together with those 
chapters of the Second Volume which refer to it, and also 
in my Critique of Kantian Philosophy. 



September, 1847. 


IN the present volume I lay before the public the Third 
Edition of the " Fourfold Root," including the emenda 
tions and additions left by Schopenhauer in his own inter 
leaved copy. I have already had occasion elsewhere to 
relate that he left copies of all his works thus interleaved, 
and that he was wont to jot down on these fly-leaves 
any corrections and additions he might intend inserting in 
future editions. 

Schopenhauer himself prepared for the press all that 
has been added in the present edition, for he has indicated, 
by signs in the original context corresponding to other 
similar signs in the MS. passages, the places where he 
wished his additions to be inserted. All that was left for 
me to do, was to give in extended form a few citations he 
had purposed adding. 

No essential corrections and additions, such as might 
modify the fundamental thoughts of the work, will be 
found in this new edition, which simply contains cor 
rections, amplifications, and corroborations, many of them 
interesting and important. Let me take only a single 
instance : 21, on the " Intellectual Nature of Empirical 
Perception." As Schopenhauer attached great importance 
to his proof of the intellectual nature of perception, nay, 
believed he had made a new discovery by it, he also 
worked out with special predilection all that tended to 


support, confirm, and strengthen it. Thus we find him in 
this 21 quoting an interesting fact he had himself ob 
served in 1815 ; then the instances of Caspar Hauser and 
others (taken from Franz s book, " The Eye," &c. &c.) ; 
and again the case of Joseph Kleinhaus, the blind sculptor ; 
and finally, the physiological confirmations he has found 
in Flourens* " De la vie et de 1 intelligence des Animaux." 
An observation, too, concerning the value of Arithmetic 
for the comprehension of physical processes, which is in 
serted into this same paragraph, will be found very re 
markable, and may be particularly recommended to those 
who are inclined to set too high a value on calculation. 

Many interesting and important additions will be found 
in the other paragraphs also. 

One thing I could have wished to see left out of this 
Third Edition: his effusions against the "professors of 
philosophy." In a conversation with Schopenhauer in 
the year 1847, when he told me how he intended to 
" chastise the professors of philosophy," l I expressed 
my dissent on this point ; for even in the Second Edition 
these passages had interrupted the measured progress of 
objective inquiry. At that time, however, he was not to be 
persuaded to strike them out ; so they were left to be 
again included in this Third Edition, where the reader 
will accordingly once more find them, although times have 
changed since then. 

Upon another point, more nearly touching the real 
issue, I had a controversy with Schopenhauer in the year 
1852. In arguing against Fichte s derivation of the Non- 
Ego from the Ego in his chief work, 2 he had said : 

1 See " Arthur Schopenhauer. Von ihm ; u jer ihn. Ein Wort der 
Vertheidigung," von Ernst Otto Lindner, and " Memorabilien, Briefe und 
Nachlassstiicke," von Julius Frauenstadt (Berlin, 1863), pp. 163-165. 

2 Schopenhauer, " Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung," second 
edition, i. t 37 (third edition, i., 39). 


"Just as if Kant had never existed, the Principle of 
Sufficient Eeason still remains with Fichte what it was with 
all the Schoolmen, an ceterna veritas : that is to say, just as 
the G-ods of the ancients were still ruled over by eternal 
Destiny, so was the God of the Schoolmen still ruled over 
by these ceterna veritates, i.e., by the metaphysical, mathe 
matical, and metalogical truths, and even, according to 
some, by the validity of the moral law. These veritates 
alone were unconditioned by anything, and God, as well 
as the world, existed through their necessity. Thus with 
Fichte the Ego, according to the Principle of Sufficient 
Reason, is the reason of the world or of the Non-Ego, of 
the Object, which is the product or result of the Ego itself. 
He took good care, therefore, neither to examine nor to 
check the Principle of Sufficient Eeason any farther. But 
if I had to indicate the particular form of this principle by 
which Fichte was guided in making the Ego spin the Non- 
Ego out of itself, as the spider its web, I should point to 
the Principle of the Sufficient Eeason of Being in Space ; 
for nothing but a reference to this principle gives any sort 
of sense or meaning to his laboured deductions of the way 
in which the Ego produces and manufactures the Non-Ego 
out of itself, which form the contents of the most senseless 
and simply on this account most tiresome book ever 
written. The only interest this Fichteian philosophy has 
for us at all otherwise it would not be worth mentioning 
lies in its being the tardy appearance of the real anti 
thesis to ancient Materialism, which was the most con 
sistent starting from the Object, just as Fichte s philosophy 
was the most consistent starting from the Subject. As 
Materialism overlooked the fact, that with the simplest 
Object it forthwith posited the Subject also ; so Fichte 
not only overlooked the fact, that with the Subject (what 
ever name he might choose to give it) he had already 
posited the Object also, because no Subject can be thought 


without it ; lie likewise overlooked the fact, that all deri 
vation a priori, nay, all demonstration whatsoever, rests 
upon a necessity, and that all necessity itself rests entirely 
and exclusively on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, be 
cause to be necessary, and to result from a given reason, 
are convertible terms ; that the Principle of Sufficient 
Reason is still nothing but the common form of the 
Object as such : therefore that it always presupposes the 
Object and does not, as valid before and independently of 
it, first introduce it, and cannot make the Object arise in 
conformity with its own legislation. Thus this starting 
from the Object and the above-mentioned starting from 
the Subject have in common, that both presuppose what 
they pretend to derive : i.e., the necessary correlate of their 

This last assertion" that the Principle of Sufficient Reason 
already presupposes the Object, but does not, as valid before 
and independently of it, first introduce it, and cannot make 
the Object arise in conformity with its own legislation," 
seemed to me so far to clash with the proof given by 
Schopenhauer in 21 of the "Fourfold Root," as, accord 
ing to the latter, it is ike function of the Subject s under 
standing which primarily creates the objective world out 
of the subjective feelings of the sensuous organs by the 
application of the Principle of Sufficient Reason ; so that 
all that is Object, as such, after all comes into being only 
in conformity with the Principle of Sufficient Reason, conse 
quently that this principle cannot, as Schopenhauer asserted 
in his polemic against Fichte, already presuppose the Object. 
In 1852, therefore, I wrote as follows to Schopenhauer : 

" In your arguments against Fichte, where you say that 
the Principle of Sufficient Reason already presupposes the 
Object, and cannot, as valid before and independently of it, 
first introduce it, the objection occurred to me anew, that 
in your " Fourfold Root " you had made the Object of per- 


ception first come into being through the application of the 
Principle of Sufficient Eeason, and that you yourself, there 
fore, derive the Object from the Subject, as, for instance, 
p. 73 of the " Fourfold Root " (2nd edition). How then can 
you maintain against Fichte that the Object is always pre 
supposed by the Subject ? I know of no way of solving 
this difficulty but the following: The Subject only pre 
supposes in the Object what belongs to the thing in itself, 
what is inscrutable ; but it creates itself the representation of 
the Object, i.e. that by which the thing in itself becomes 
phenomenon. For instance, when I see a tree, my Subject 
assumes the thing in itself of that tree ; whereas the repre 
sentation of it conversely presupposes the operation of my 
Subject, the transition from the effect (in my eye) to its 

To this Schopenhauer replied as follows on the 12th of 
July, 1852 : 

" Your answers (to the objection in question) are not the 
right ones. Here there cannot yet be a question of the 
thing in itself, and the distinction between representation 
and object is inadmissible : the world is representation. 
The matter stands rather as follows Fichte s derivation 
of the Non-Ego from the Ego, is quite abstract : A = A, 
ergo, 1 = 1, and so forth. Taken in an abstract sense, the 
Object is at once posited with the Subject. For to be 
Subject means, to know; and to know means, to have 
representations. Object and representation are one and 
the same thing. In the " Fourfold Root," therefore, I 
have divided all objects or representations into four classes, 
within which the Principle of Sufficient Reason always 
reigns, though in each class under a different form ; never 
theless, the Principle of Sufficient Eeason always presup 
poses the class itself, and indeed, properly speaking, they co 
incide. 1 Now, in reality, the existence of the Subject of 
See " Die Welt a. W. u. V.," vol. ii. pp. 17-21, and vol. i. p. 39 of 


knowing is not an abstract existence. The Subject does not 
exist for itself and independently, as if it had dropped 
from the sky ; it appears as the instrument of some indi 
vidual phenomenon of the Will (animal, human being), 
whose purposes it is destined to serve, and which thereby 
now receives a consciousness, on the one hand, of itself, on 
the other hand, of everything else. The question next 
arises, as to how or out of what elements the representation 
of the outer world is brought about within this conscious 
ness. This I have already answered in my "Theory of 
Colours " and also in my chief work, 1 but most thoroughly 
and exhaustively of all in the Second Edition of the " Four 
fold Root," 21, where it is shown, that all those elements 
are of subjective origin ; wherefore attention is especially 
drawn to the great difference between all this and Fichte s 
humbug. For the whole of my exposition is but the full 
carrying out of Kant s Transcendental Idealism." 2 

I have thought it advisable to give this passage of his 
letter, as being relevant to the matter in question. As to the 
division in chapters and paragraphs, it is the same in this 
new edition as in the last. By comparing each single 

the second edition. (The passages referred to by Schopenhauer in the 
second edition are in the third edition vol. ii. pp. 18-21, and vol. i. p. 40). 

1 Die Welt a. W. u. V., vol. i. p. 22 et seqq., and vol. ii. chap. ii. of the 
second edition 5 vol. i. p. 22, 6, and vol. ii. chap. ii. of the third edition. 

2 The passage I have quoted above from Schopenhauer s letter is also 
to be found among the letters published in my book, " Arthur Schopen 
hauer. Von ihm, liber ihn, u. s. w.," p. 541 et seqq,, and it results from 
this, as well as from several other letters which likewise deal with 
important and knotty points in his philosophy, that this correspondence 
may perhaps not be quite so worthless and unimportant as many 
among them Gwinner, in his pamphlet, " Schopenhauer und seine 
Freunde" (Leipzig, 1863) represent it to be. This pamphlet of Gwin- 
ners, by the way, has met with the treatment it deserves in the Pre 
face to the collection, " Aus Arthur Schopenhauer s handschriftlichen 
Aphorismen und Nachlass. Abhandlungen, Anmerkungen, Fragmente," 
(Leipzig, 1864). 


paragraph of the second with the same paragraph of the 
present edition, it will be easy to find out what has been 
newly added. In conclusion, however, I will still add a 
short list of the principal passages which are new. 


8, p. 13, the passages from " Notandum," &c., to " Ex 
necessitate" and p. 14, from " Zundchst adoptirt " down to 
the end of the page (English version, p. 14, " Not." &c., to 
"Ex nee"; p. 15, from "First he adopts" down to the 
end of the paragraph, p. 16, " est causa sui"), in confirma 
tion of his assertion that Spinoza had interchanged and 
confounded the relation between reason of knowledge and 
consequent, with that between cause and effect. 

9, p. 17, from " er proUamirt " down to " gewusst haben 
wird" (E. v., 9, p. 19, from " He proclaims it " down to 
" by others before.") 

20, p. 42, in speaking of reciprocity (WecJiselwirJcung), 
from the words " Ja, wo einem Schreiber " down to " ins 
Bodenlose gerathen sei." (E. v., 20, p. 45, from " Nay, it is 
precisely" down to " his depth.") 

21, p. 61, the words at the bottom, " und raumlich Jcon- 
struirt" down to p. 62, " Data erhalt," together with the 
quotation concerning the blind sculptor, J. Kleinhaus. 
(E. v., 21, p. 67, the words " and constructs in Space " 
down to " of the Understanding,") and the note. 

21, pp. 67-68, from " Ein specieUer und interessanter 
Beleg" down to " alb ernes Zeug dazu." (E. v., 21, 
p. 73, "I will here add" down to p. 74, "followed by 

21, p. 73, sq., the instances of Caspar Hauser, &c., from 
Franz, " The Eye," &c., and the physiological corrobora- 
tions from Flourens, " De la vie et de I intelligence" &c. 
(E. v., p. 80, and following.) 


21, p. 77, the parenthesis on the value of calculation. 
(E. v., p. 83, " All comprehension," &c.) 

21, p. 83, the words " da ferner Substanz" down to 
" das WirJcen in concrete." (E. v., 21, p. 90, " Substance 
and Matter " down to "in concrete") 

29, p. 105, the words "im Lateinischen" down to 
" erJcannte." (E. v., 29, p. 116, from " In Latin" down 

tO " KUT l^O-^IJV.") 

34, p. 116, the words " Ueberall ist " down to " Praxis 
und Theorie" (E. v., 34, p. 128, the words " Seasonable 
or Rational " down to " theory and practice.") 

34, p. 121, the verses from Gothe s " West-Ostlicher 

34, p. 125, AnmerJcung,t]i.e words " Auch ist Brahma " 
down to " die erstere," and p. 126, the quotation from I. J. 
Schmidt s " Forschungen." (E. v., 34, p. 138, note, 
" Brahma is also " down to " first of these,") 

34, p. 127, the words from " Aber der naive " down to 
"judaisirten gouverneurs " (E. v., 34, p. 150, sentence be 
ginning " But the artless " down to " infancy," and the 
Greek quotation from Plutarch in the note.) 

34, p. 128, the words from " Ganz ubereinstimmend " 
down to " uberfliissige sein soil." (E. v., p. 151, from 
" J. F. Davis " down to " superfluous.") 

45, p. 147, the words " Eben daher Jcommt es " down to 
" sich erhalt." (E. v., 45, p. 163, " It is just for this 
reason too " down to " their possession.") 

45, p. 149, the words " Man suche Das" &c., down to 
" gelesen haben." (E. v., 45, p. 164, from " We should " 
down to " read in books.") 

49, p. 154, the words " Der bei den Philosophastern," 
down to " zu kontroliren sind" (E. v., 49, p. 169, from 
the words " The conception of our," &c., down to "by per 

50, p. 156, the words " Denn der Satz vom Grunde " 

down to " nur sich selbst nicht" (E. v., 50, p. 172, from 
"For the Principle of Sufficient Eeason," &c., down to 
" everything else.") 

52, p. 158, the words " Der allgemeine Sinn des Satzes 
vom Grunde," down to " der Kosmologische Beweis ist." 
(E. v., 52, p. 173, from " The general meaning " down to 
" the Cosmological Proof.") 


BEKLIN, August , 1864. 


THE present Fourth Edition is of the same content as 
the Third ; therefore it contains the same corrections 
and additions which I had already inserted in the Third 
Edition from Schopenhauer s own interleaved copy of this 

BERLIN, September, 1877, 






1. The Method. 

THE divine Plato and the marvellous Kant unite their 
mighty voices in recommending a rule, to serve as 
the method of all philosophising as well as of all other 
science. 1 Two laws, they tell us : the law of homogeneity 
and the law of specification, should be equally observed, 
neither to the disadvantage of the other. The law of 
homogeneity directs us to collect things together into kindr, 
by observing their resemblances and correspondences, to 
collect kinds again into species, species into genera, and 
so on, till at last we come to the highest all-comprehensive 
conception. Now this law, being transcendental, i.e. es 
sential to our Reason, takes for granted that Nature con 
forms with it : an assumption which is expressed by the 
ancient formula, entia prceter necessitatem non esse multi- 

1 Platon, "Phileb." pp. 219-223. "Politic." 62, 63. "Phsedr." 
3G1-363, ed. Bip. Kant, " Kritik der reinen Vernunft. Anhang znr 
transcend. Dialektik." English Translation by F. Max Miiller. " Ap 
pendix to the Transc. Dialectic." pp. 551, and seqq. 



plicanda. As for tlie law of specification, Kant expresses 
it thus: entium varietates non temere esse minuendas. It 
requires namely, that we should clearly distinguish one 
from another the different genera collected under one com 
prehensive conception; likewise that we should not con 
found the higher and lower species comprised in each 
genus ; that we should be careful not to overleap any, and 
never to classify inferior species, let alone individuals, 
immediately under the generic conception : each concep 
tion being susceptible of subdivision, and none even 
coming down to mere intuition. Kant teaches that both 
laws are transcendental, fundamental principles of our 
Reason, which postulate conformity of things with them 
a priori; and Plato, when he tells us that these rules 
were flung down from the seat of the gods with the Pro 
methean fire, seems to express the same thought in his 
own way. 

2. Application of the Method in the present case. 

In spite of the weight of such recommendations, I find 
that the second of these two laws has been far too rarely 
applied to a fundamental principle of all knowledge : the 
Principle of Sufficient Reason. For although this principle 
has been often and long ago stated in a general way, still^ 
sufficient distinction has not been made between its ex 
tremely different applications, in each of which it acquires 
a new meaning ; its origin in various mental faculties thus 
becoming evident. If we compare Kant s philosophy with 
all preceding systems, we perceive that, precisely in the 
observation of our mental faculties, many persistent errors 
have been caused by applying the principle of homogeneity, 
while the opposite principle of specification was neglected ; 
whereas the law of specification has led to the greatest and 
most important results. I therefore crave permission to 


quote a passage from Kant, in which the application of 
the law of specification to the sources of our knowledge is 
especially recommended ; for it gives countenance to my 
present endeavour : 

" It is of the highest importance to isolate various sorts 
of knowledge, which in kind and origin are different from 
others, and to take great care lest they be mixed up with 
those others with which, for practical purposes, they are 
generally united. What is done by the chemist in the 
analysis of substances, and by the mathematician in pure 
mathematics, is far more incumbent on the philosopher, 
in order to enable him to define clearly the part which, in 
the promiscuous employment of the understanding, belongs 
to a special kind of knowledge, as well as its peculiar value 
and influence." * 

3. Utility of this Inquiry. 

Should I succeed in showing that the principle which 
forms the subject of the present inquiry does not issue 
directly from one primitive notion of our intellect, but 
rather in the first instance from various ones, it will then 
follow, that neither can the necessity it brings with it, as a 
firmly established a priori principle, be one and the same 
in all cases, but must, on the contrary, be as manifold as 
the sources of the principle itself. Whoever therefore 
bases a conclusion upon this principle, incurs the obligation 
of clearly specifying on which of its grounds of necessity he 
founds his conclusion and of designating that ground by 
a special name, such as I am about to suggest. I hope 
that this may be a step towards promoting greater lucidity 
and precision in philosophising ; for I hold the extreme 

1 Kant, " Krit. d. r. V. Methodenlehre. Drittes Hauptstiick," p. 842 
of the 1st edition. Engl. Tr. by F. M. Miiller. " Architectonic of Pure 
Reason," p. 723. 


clearness to be attained by an accurate definition of each 
single expression to be indispensable to us, as a defence 
both against error and against intentional deception, and 
also as a means of securing to ourselves the permanent, 
unalienable possession of each newly acquired notion within 
the sphere of philosophy beyond the fear of losing it 
again on account of any misunderstanding or double 
meaning which might hereafter be detected. The true 
philosopher will indeed always seek after light and perspi 
cuity, and will endeavour to resemble a Swiss lake which 
through its peacefulness is enabled to unite great depth 
with great clearness, the depth revealing itself precisely 
by the clearness rather than a turbid, impetuous moun 
tain torrent. " La clarte est la bonne foi des philosophies" 
says Vauvenargues. Pseudo-philosophers, on the con 
trary, use speech, not indeed to conceal their thoughts, 
as M. de Talleyrand has it, but rather to conceal the 
absence of them, and are apt to make their readers 
responsible for the incomprehensibility of their systems, 
which really proceeds from their own confused thinking. 
This explains why in certain writers Schelling, for instance 
the tone of instruction so often passes into that of re 
proach, and frequently the reader is even taken to task 
beforehand for his assumed inability to understand. 

4. Importance of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. 

Its importance is indeed very great, since it may truly 
be called the basis of all science. For by science we un 
derstand a system of notions, i.e. a totality of connected, 
as opposed to a mere aggregate of disconnected, notions. 
But what is it that binds together the members of a system, 
if not the Principle of Sufficient Reason? That which 
distinguishes every science from a mere aggregate is pre 
cisely, that its notions are derived one from another as from 


their reason. So it was long ago observed by Plato : KUI 
yap ai ocu at a\T]6ls ov TroXXov amt eiffiv, ZWQ av TLQ avrag 
drjcrrj airlae Xoyioyj J (etiam opiniones verce non multi pretii 
sunt, donee quis illas ratiocinatione a causis ducta liget). 1 
Nearly every science, moreover, contains notions of causes 
from which the effects may be deduced, and likewise other 
notions of the necessity of conclusions from reasons, as 
will be seen during the course of this inquiry. Aristotle 
has expressed this as follows: nava {.-moT^^rj Biavo^riKrj, ?} 
Kal jj.Tt^ovffa TL ZiavoiaQ, irepl airiaq KO\ dp^ag Ian (omnis 
intellectualis scientia, sive aliquo modo intellects, participans, 
circa causas et principia est)* Now, as it is this very 
assumption a priori that all things must have their 
reason, which authorizes us everywhere to search for the 
why, we may safely call this tvhy the mother of all science. 

5. The Principle itself. 

We purpose showing further on that the Principle of 
Sufficient Reason is an expression common to several a 
priori notions. Meanwhile, it must be stated under some 
formula or other. I choose Wolf s as being the most 
comprehensive : Nihil est sine ratione cur potius sit, quam 
non sit. Nothing is without a reason for its being. 3 

1 " Meno." p. 385, ed Bip. " Even true opinions are not of much 
value until somebody binds them down by proof of a cause." [Trans 
lator s addition.] 

2 Aristot. " Metaph." v. 1. "All knowledge which is intellectual or 
partakes somewhat of intellect, deals with causes and principles." 
[Tr. s add.] 

3 Here the translator gives Schopenhauer s free version of Wolf s 



6. First Statement of the Principle and Distinction between 
Two of its Meanings. 

A MOKE or less accurately defined, abstract expression 
for so fundamental a principle of all knowledge must 
have been found at a very early age ; it would, therefore, 
be difficult, and besides of no great interest, to determine 
where it first appeared. Neither Plato nor Aristotle have 
formally stated it as a leading fundamental principle, 
although both often speak of it as a self-evident truth. 
Thus, with a naivete which savours of the state of innocence 
as opposed to that of the knowledge of good and of evil, 
when compared with the critical researches of our own 
times, Plato says : dvayKaiov, TTCLVTCL TO. Sia nva 
airiav yiyvtaQaC TTO)C yap av \wp\g TOVT&V yiyvono ; * (necesse 
est, qucecunque fiunt, per aliquam causam fieri : quomodo 
enim absque eafierent ?) and then again : TTOLV %e TO yiyvo^vov 
VTT alrlov TIVOQ e avuytcrjg yiyveaQai iravrl yap a^vvaTOv^plg 
yivtaiv ^x e ~ iy3 (quidquid gignitur, ex aliqua causa 

1 Platon, " Phileb." p. 240, ed Bip. * It is necessary that all which 
arises, should arise by some cause ; for how could it arise otherwise ? " 
[Tr. s add.] 

2 Ibid. " Timseus," p. 302. " All that arises, arises necessarily from 
some cause 5 for it is impossible for anything to come into being without 
cause." [Tr. s add.] 


necessario gignitur: sine causa enim oriri quidquam, im- 
possibile est). At the end of his book " De fato," Plutarch 
cites the following among the chief propositions of the 
Stoics : p,a\iaTa juev /ecu TTOWTOV ILVUL ^6^ei } TO fj.rj^ev avaiTtMc; 
ytyvcr0at,ctXXa Kara Trpotiyov/ulvaQ aiTiaQ (maxime id primum 
esse videbitur, nihil fieri sine causa, sed omnia causis ante- 

In the " Analyt. post." i. 2, Aristotle states the principle 
of sufficient reason to a certain degree when he says: 
i-n-iGTaadat $e oio/ueda tKaarov aTrXwc, orav rriv r alriav 
oloueda yivu)<7Keiv,$i f]V TO Trpayfj.a. tanv, on eKEivov aiTiaeff-iv, 
K - ai fj,r] vce-%crdai TOVTO aXXwg eivai. (Scire autem putamus 
unamquamque rem simpliciter, quum putamus causam cog- 
noscere, propter quum res est, ejusque rei causam esse, nee posse 
earn aliter se habere.y In his "Metaphysics," moreover, 
he already divides causes, or rather principles, a p^al, into 
different kinds, 3 of which he admits eight ; but this division 
is neither profound nor precise enough. He is, nevertheless, 
quite right in saying, Traawv jufv ovv KOLVOV T&V ap^oiy, ro 
irpuiTov dvat, oQev f/ eartv, 77 ytVfrat, f/ ytyvoWKrerat. 4 (Omnibus 
igitur principiis commune est, esse primum, unde aut est, aut 
fit, aut cognoscitur. ) In the following chapter he distin 
guishes several kinds of causes, although somewhat super 
ficially and confusedly. In the " Analyt. post." ii. 11, he 
states four kinds of causes in a more satisfactory manner : 

1 " This especially would seem to be the first principle : that nothing 
arises without cause, but [everything] according to preceding causes." 
[Tr. s add.] 

2 " We think we understand a thing perfectly, whenever we think we 
know the cause by which the thing is, that it is really the cause of 
that thing, and that the thing cannot possibly be otherwise." [Tr. s 

3 Lib. iv. c. 1. 

4 " Now it is common to all principles, that they are the first thing 
through which [anything] is, or arises, or is understood." [Tr. s 


alriai tie. refftrapEQ pia pev TO n ?iv elvai pia. tie TO nvwv OVTUV, 
dvajKr) TOVTO etvat tripa. tie, ij TL TT/OUITOV tKivijtre TtTaprr) ce, 
TO T IVOQ eviKa. 1 (Causes autem quatuor sunt: una quce 
explicat quid res sit ; alter a, quam, si qucedam sint, necesse 
est esse ; tertia, quce quid primum inovit ; quarta id, cujus 
gratia.) Now this is the origin of the division of the causes 
universally adopted by the Scholastic Philosophers, into 
causce materiales, formales, efficientes et finales, as may be 
seen in " Suarii disputationes metaphysicae " 2 a real com 
pendium of Scholasticism. Even Hobbes still quotes and 
explains this division. 3 It is also to be found in another 
passage of Aristotle, this time somewhat more clearly and 
fully developed (" Metaph." i. 3.) and it is again briefly 
noticed in the book " De somno et vigilia," c. 2. As for the 
vitally important distinction between reason and cause, 
however, Aristotle no doubt betrays something like a con 
ception of it in the " Analyt. post." i. 13, where he shows at 
considerable length that knowing and proving that a thing 
exists is a very different thing from knowing and proving 
why it exists : what he represents as the latter, being know 
ledge of the cause ; as the former, knowledge of the reason. 
If, however, he had quite clearly recognized the difference 
between them, he would never have lost sight of it, but would 
have adhered to it throughout his writings. Now this is not 
the case ; for even when he endeavours to distinguish the 
various kinds of causes from one another, as in the passages 
I have mentioned above, the essential difference mooted in 
the chapter just alluded to, never seems to occur to him 
again. Besides he uses the term ainov indiscriminately 
for every kind of cause, often indeed calling reasons of know- 

1 " There are four causes : first, the essence of a thing itself; second, 
the sine qua non of a thing j third, what first put a thing in motion ; 
fourth, to what purpose or end a thing is tending." [Tr. s add.] 

2 " Suarii disputationes metaph." Disp. 12, sect. 2 et 3. 
Hobbes, " De corpore," P. ii. c. 10, 7. 


ledge, and sometimes even the premisses of a conclusion, 
ahiag, as, for instance, in his " Metaph." iv. 18 ; " Rhet." 
ii. 2 ; " De plantis," i. p. 816 (ed. Berol.), but more especially 
" Analyt. post." i. 2, where he calls the premisses to a con 
clusion simply aiTiai TOV o > v/u7re / oa<r^aro (causes of the con 
clusion). Now, using the same word to express two closely 
connected conceptions, is a sure sign that their difference 
has not been recognised, or at any rate not been firmly 
grasped ; for a mere accidental hornoiiymous designation 
of two widely differing things is quite another matter. 
No where, however, does this error appear more conspicuously 
than in his definition of the sophism non causce ut causa, 
Trapa ro prj airiov utg airiov (reasoning from what is not cause 
as if it were cause), in the book "De sophisticis elenchis," c. 5. 
By UITLOV he here understands absolutely nothing but the 
argument, the premisses, consequently a reason of know 
ledge ; for this sophism consists in correctly proving the 
impossibility of something, while the proof has no bearing 
whatever upon the proposition in dispute, which it is never 
theless supposed to refute. Here, therefore, there is no ques 
tion at all of physical causes. Still the use of the word airiov 
has had so much weight with modern logicians, that they 
hold to it exclusively in their accounts of the fallacia extra 
dictionem, and explain the fallacia non causce ut causa as 
designating a physical cause, which is not the case. 
Beimarus, for instance, does so, and G-. E. Schultze and 
Fries all indeed of whom I have any knowledge. The 
first work in which I find a correct definition of this 
sophism, is Twesten s Logic. Moreover, in all other 
scientific works and controversies the charge of a fallacia 
non causce ut causa usually denotes the interpolation of a 
wrong cause. 

Sextus Empiricus presents another forcible instance of 
the way in which the Ancients were wont universally to con 
found the logical law of the reason of knowledge with the 


transcendental law of cause and effect in Nature, persistently 
mistaking one for the other. In the 9th Book " Adversus 
Mathematicos," that is, the Book " Adversus Physicos," 
204, he undertakes to prove the law of causality, and says : 
" He who asserts that there is no cause (a ma), either has 
no cause (air/ a) for his assertion, or has one. In the former 
case there is not more truth in his assertion than in its 
contradiction ; in the latter, his assertion itself proves the 
existence of a cause." 

By this we see that the Ancients had not yet arrived at 
a clear distinction between requiring a reason as the ground 
cf a conclusion, and asking for a cause for the occurrence 
of a real event. As for the Scholastic Philosophers of 
later times, the law of causality was in their eyes an 
axiom above investigation : " non inqidrimus an causa sit, 
quia nihil est per se notius" says Suarez. 1 At the same time 
they held fast to the above quoted Aristotelian classification ; 
but, as far as I know at least, they equally failed to arrive 
at a clear idea of the necessary distinction of which we are 
here speaking. 

7. Descartes. 

For we find even the excellent Descartes, who gave the 
first impulse to subjective reflection and thereby became 
the father of modern philosophy, still entangled in con 
fusions for which it is difficult to account ; and we shall 
soon see to what serious and deplorable consequences these 
confusions have led with regard to Metaphysics. In the 
" Responsio ad secundas objectiones in meditationes deprima 
philosophia" axioma i. he says : Nulla res existit, de qua non 
possit quceri, qucenam sit causa, cur existat. Hoc enim de 
ipso Deo quceri potest, non quod indigeat ulla causa ut existat, 

1 Suarez, " Disp." 12, sect. 1. 


sea quid ipsa ejus naturce immensitas est CAUSA, SIVE RATIO, 
propter quam nulla causa indiget ad existendum. Ke ought 
to have said : The immensity of God is a logical reason 
from which it follows, that Grod needs no cause ; whereas 
he confounds the two together and obviously has no clear 
consciousness of the difference between reason and cause. 
Properly speaking however, it is his intention which mars 
his insight. For here, where the law of causality demands 
a cause, he substitutes a reason instead of it, because the 
latter, unlike the former, does not immediately lead to 
something beyond it ; and thus, by means of this very 
axiom, he clears the way to the Ontological Proof of the 
existence of G-od, which was really his invention, for Anselm 
had only indicated it in a general manner. Immediately 
after these axioms, of which I have just quoted the first, 
there comes a formal, quite serious statement of the Onto 
logical Proof, which, in fact, already lies within that axiom, 
as the chicken does within the egg that has been long 
brooded over. Thus, while everything else stands in need 
of a cause for its existence, the immensitas implied in the 
conception of the Deity who is introduced to us upon the 
ladder of the Cosmological Proof suffices in lieu of a 
cause or, as the proof itself expresses it : in conceptu entis 
summe perfecti existentia necessaria continetur. This, then, 
is the sleight-of-hand trick, for the sake of which the con 
fusion, familiar even to Aristotle, of the two principal 
meanings of the principle of sufficient reason, has been 
used directly in majorem Dei gloriam. 

Considered by daylight, however, and without prejudice, 
this famous Ontological Proof is really a charming joke. 
On some occasion or other, some one excogitates a con 
ception, composed out of all sorts of predicates, among which 
however he takes care to include the predicate actuality or 
existence, either openly stated or wrapped up for decency s 
sake in some other predicate, such as perfectio, immensitas, 


or something of the kind. Now, it is well known, that, 
from a given conception, those predicates which are essential 
to it i.e., without which it cannot be thought and like 
wise the predicates which are essential to those predicates 
themselves, may be extracted by means of purely logical 
analyses, and consequently have logical truth : that is, they 
have their reason of knowledge in the given conception. 
Accordingly the predicate reality or existence is now ex 
tracted from this arbitrarily thought conception, and an 
object corresponding to it is forthwith presumed to have 
real existence independently of the conception. 

* War der Gedank nicht so verwiinscht gescheut, 
Man war versucht ihn herzlich dumm zu nennen." * 

After all, the simplest answer to such ontological de 
monstrations is : " All depends upon the source whence you 
have derived your conception : if it be taken from experi 
ence, all well and good, for in this case its object exists 
and needs no further proof ; if, on the contrary, it has been 
hatched in your own sinciput, all its predicates are of no avail, 
for it is a mere phantasm. But we form an unfavourable 
prejudice against the pretensions of a theology which needed 
to have recourse to such proofs as this in order to gain a, 
footing on the territory of philosophy, to which it is quite 
foreign, but on which it longs to trespass. But oh ! for 
the prophetic wisdom of Aristotle ! He had never even 
heard of the Ontological Proof ; yet as though he could 
detect this piece of scholastic jugglery through the shades 
of coming darkness and were anxious to bar the road to it, 
he carefully shows a that defining a thing and proving its 
existence are two different matters, separate to all eternity ; 

i Were not the thought so cursedly acute, 

One might be tempted to declare it silly." 
SCHILLER, " Wallenstein-Trilogie. Piccolomini," Act ii. Sc. 7. 

Aristot., " Analyt. post." c. 7, 


since by the one we learn what it is that is meant, and by 
the other that such a thing exists. Like an oracle of the 
future, he pronounces the sentence : TO & eivai OVK ovaia 
ovCfvi" ov yap yevoQ TO ov : (ESSE autem uullius rei essentia 
est, quandoquidem ens non est genus) which means : 
" Existence never can belong to the essence of a thing." 
On the other hand, we may see how great was Herr von 
Schelling s veneration for the Ontological Proof in a long 
note, p. 152, of the 1st vol. of his " Philosophische Schriften" 
of 1809. We may even see in it something still more in 
structive, i.e., how easily G-ermans allow sand to be thrown 
in their eyes by impudence and blustering swagger. But for 
so thoroughly pitiable a creature as Hegel, whose whole 
pseudo-philosophy is but a monstrous amplification of the 
Ontological Proof, to have undertaken its defence against 
Kant, is indeed an alliance of which the Ontological Proof 
itself might be ashamed, however little it may in general 
be given to blushing. How can I be expected to speak with 
deference of men, who have brought philosophy into con 
tempt ? * 

8. Spinoza. 

Although Spinoza s philosophy mainly consists in the 
negation of the double dualism between God and the 
world and between soul and body, which his teacher, 
Descartes, had set up, he nevertheless remained true to his 
master in confounding and interchanging the relation be 
tween reason and consequence with that between cause and 
effect ; he even endeavoured to draw from it a still greater 
advantage for his own metaphysics than Descartes for his, 
for he made this confusion the foundation of his whole 

A conception contains implicate all its essential predi 
cates, so that they may be developed out of it explicite by 
means of mere analytical judgments: the sum total of 


them being its definition. This definition therefore differs 
from the conception itself merely in form and not in con 
tent ; for it consists of judgments which are all con 
tained within that conception, and therefore have their 
reason in it, in as far as they show its essence. We may 
accordingly look upon these judgments as the conse 
quences of that conception, considered as their reason. 
Now this relation between a conception and the judg 
ments founded upon it arid susceptible of being developed 
out of it by analysis, is precisely the relation between 
Spinoza s so-called G-od and the world, or rather between 
the one and only substance and its numberless accidents 
(Deus, sive substantia constans infinitis attributis l Deus, 
sive omnia Dei attributa) . It is therefore the relation in 
knowledge of the reason to its consequent ; whereas true 
Theism (Spinoza s Theism is merely nominal) assumes 
the relation of the cause to its effect, in which the cause 
remains different and separate from the consequence, not 
only in the way in which we consider them, but really and 
essentially, therefore in themselves to all eternity. For 
the word God, honestly used, means a cause such as this 
of the world, with the addition of personality. An imper 
sonal God is, on the contrary, a contradictio in adjecto. 
Now as nevertheless, even in the case as stated by him, 
Spinoza desired to retain the word God to express sub 
stance, and explicitly called this the cause of the world, he 
could find no other way to do it than by completely inter 
mingling the two relations, and confounding the principle 
of the reason of knowledge with the principle of causality. 
I call attention to the following passages in corroboration 
of this statement. Notandum, dari necessario unius cujus- 
que rei existentis certam aliquam CAUSAM, propter quam 
existit. Et notandum, hanc causam, propter quam aliqua res 
existit, vel debere contineri in ipsa natura et DEFINITIONE 
1 Spinoza, " Eth." i. prop. 11. 


rei existentis (nimirum quod ad ipsius naturam pertinet 
existere), vel debere EXTRA ipsam dari. 1 In the last case he 
means an efficient cause, as appears from what follows, 
whereas in the first he means a mere reason of know 
ledge ; yet he identifies both, and by this means prepares 
the way for identifying God with the world, which is his 
intention. This is the artifice of which he always makes 
use, and which he has learnt from Descartes. He substi 
tutes a cause acting from without, for a reason of know 
ledge lying within, a given conception. Ex necessitate 
divince naturce omnia, quce sub intellectum infinitum cadere 
possunt, sequi debent? At the same time he calls God 
everywhere the cause of the world. Quidquid existit Dei 
potentiam, quce omnium rerum CAUSA est, exprimit. 3 Deus 
est omnium rerum CAUSA immanens, non vero transiens.* 
Deus non tantam est CAUSA EFFICIENS rerum existentice, sed 
etiam essentioe. 5 Ex data quacunque IDEA aliquis EFFECTUS 
necessario sequi debat. 6 And: Nulla res nisi a causa ex- 
terna potest destrui. 7 Demonstr. DEFINITIO cujuscunque 
rei, ipsius essentiam (essence, nature, as differing from 
existentia, existence), ajjirmat, sed non negat ; sive rei essen 
tiam ponit, sed non tollit. Dum itaque ad rem ipsam tan- 
turn, non autem ad causas externas altendimus, nihil in 
eadem poterimus invenire, quod ipsam possit destruere. This 
means, that as no conception can contain anything which 
contradicts its definition, i.e., the sum total of its predi 
cates, neither can an existence contain anything which 
might become a cause of its destruction. This view, how 
ever, is brought to a climax in the somewhat lengthy 
second demonstration of the llth Proposition, in which 
he confounds a cause capable of destroying or anni- 

1 Spinoza, " Eth." P. 1. prop. 8, schol. 2. 

2 Ibid. Prop. 1 6. 3 Ibid. Prop. 36, dcmonstr. 
* Ibid. Prop. 18. 5 Ibid. Prop. 25. 

6 Eth." P. iii. prop. 1, demonstr. 7 Ibid. Prop. 4. 


hilating a "being, with a contradiction contained in its 
definition and therefore destroying that definition. His 
need of confounding cause with reason here becomes so 
urgent, that he can never say causa or ratio alone, but 
always finds it necessary to put ratio sen causa. Accord 
ingly, this occurs as many as eight times in the same page, 
in order to conceal the subterfuge. Descartes had done 
the same in the above-mentioned axiom. 

Thus, properly speaking, Spinoza s Pantheism is merely 
the realisation of Descartes Ontological Proof. First, he 
adopts Descartes ontotheological proposition, to which we 
have alluded above, ipsa naturce Dei immensitas est CAUSA 
SIVE RATIO, propter quam nulla causa indiget ad existen- 
dum, always saying substantia instead of Deus (in the 
beginning) ; and then he finishes by substantice essentia, 
necessario involvit existentiam, ergo erit substantia CAUSA 
sui. 1 Therefore the very same argument which Descartes 
had used to prove the existence of God, is used by Spinoza 
to prove the existence of the world, which consequently 
needs no God. He does this still more distinctly in the 
2nd Scholium to the 8th Proposition : Quoniam ad natu- 
ram substantia pertinet existere, debet ejus definitio necessa- 
riam existentiam involvere, et consequenter ex sola ejus 
definitione debet ipsius existentia concludi. But this sub 
stance is, as we know, the world. The demonstration to 
Proposition 24 says in the same sense : Id, cujus natura in 
se considerata (i.e., in its definition) involvit existentiam, est 


For what Descartes had stated in an exclusively ideal 
and subjective sense, i.e., only for us, for cognitive purposes 
in this instance for the sake of proving the existence of 
God Spinoza took in a real and objective sense, as the 
actual relation of God to the world. According to Des 
cartes, the existence of God is contained in the conception 
1 Eth."P. i. prop. 7. 


of God, therefore it becomes an argument for his actual 
being: according to Spinoza, God is himself contained 
in the world. Thus what, with Descartes, was only 
reason of knowledge, becomes, with Spinoza, reason of 
fact. If the former, in his Ontological Proof, taught 
that the existentia of God is a consequence of the essentia 
of God, the latter turns this into causa sui, and boldly 
opens his Ethics with : per causam sui intelligo id, cujus 
essentia (conception) involvit existentiam, remaining deaf 
to Aristotle s warning cry, TO c) elvat OVK ov<ria ovfovi \ 
Now, this is the most palpable confusion of reason and 
cause. And if Neo-Spinozans (Schellingites, Hegelians, 
&c.), with whom words are wont to pass for thoughts, 
often indulge in pompous, solemn admiration for this 
causa sui, for my own part I see nothing but a contra- 
dictio in adjecto in this same causa sui, a before that is 
after, an audacious command to us, to sever arbitrarily the 
eternal causal chain something, in short, very like the 
proceeding of that Austrian, who finding himself unable 
to reach high enough to fasten the clasp on his tightly- 
strapped shako, got upon a chair. The right emblem for 
causa sui is Baron Miinchhausen, sinking on horseback 
into the water, clinging by the legs to his horse and pull 
ing both himself and the animal out by his own pigtail, 
with the motto underneath : Causa sui. 

Let us finally cast a look at the 16th proposition of the 
1st book of the Ethics. Here we find Spinoza concluding 
from the proposition, ex data cujuscunque rei definitione 
plures proprietates intellectus concludit, quce revera ex eadem 
necessario sequuntur, that ex necessitate divince natural (i.e., 
taken as a reality), infinita infinitis modis sequi debent : 
this God therefore unquestionably stands in the same 
relation to the world as a conception to its definition. The 
corollary, Deum omnium rerum esse CAUSAM EFFICIENTEM, 
is nevertheless immediately connected with it. It is im- 



possible to carry the confusion between reason and cause 
farther, nor could it lead to graver consequences than here. 
But this shows the importance of the subject of the present 

In endeavouring to add a third step to the climax in 
question, Herr von Schelling has contributed a small after 
piece to these errors, into which two mighty intellects of 
the past had fallen owing to insufficient clearness in think 
ing. If Descartes met the demands of the inexorable law of 
causality, which reduced his God to the last straits, by sub 
stituting a reason instead of the cause required, in order thus 
to set the matter at rest ; and if Spinoza made a real cause 
out of this reason, i.e., causa sui, his God thereby becoming 
the world itself : Schelling now made reason and consequent 
separate in God himself. 1 He thus gave the thing still 
greater consistency by elevating it to a real, substantial 
hypostasis of reason and consequent, and introducing us 
to something " in God, which is not himself, but his 
reason, as a primary reason, or rather reason beyond reason 
(abyss)." Hoc quidem vere palmarium est. It is now 
known that Schelling had taken the whole fable from 
Jacob Bonnie s " Full account of the terrestrial and celes 
tial mystery ; " but what appears to me to be less well 
known, is the source from which Jacob Bohme himself 
had taken it, and the real birth-place of this so-called 
abyss, wherefore I now take the liberty to mention it. It 
is the fivtioQ, i.e. abyssus, vorago, bottomless pit, reason 
beyond reason of the Valentinians (a heretical sect of the 
second century) which, in silence co-essential with itself 
engendered intelligence and the world, as Irenaeus 2 re 
lates in the following terms : \iyovai yap nva eivat iv 
ioparote, teal aKarorofiaaroig i/i^a/jua^i riXtiov Aiutva. Trpoovra* 
TOVTOV &= /ecu Trpoap^j/v, KOI TrpOTTaropa, Kal fivdov Ka 

1 Schelling, a Abhandlung von der menschHchen Freiheit. 

2 Irenseus, " Contr. hseres." lib. i. c. 1. 


SE ctvrov a^wprjrov Kal aopctrov, d &iov TE Kal 
dyiw>]Tov, EV ficrv^fa Kal ripe/ata iro\\rj yEyovlvai iv aVetpoic 
ai&ffi "%pov<i)V. Suvi/Trap^fiv $E ai/rw /ecu Evvotav, rjv $E Kal 
Xaptv, Kdl 2ty//v oro/ud^ovffi KCti Evvorjdrjvai TTOTE a EO.VTOV 
TOV fivdov TOVTOV dp\rjv TUJV TraVrwv, /ecu KaOdiref) 

rrjv 7rpo(3o\rjv ravrrjv (^v Trpo/SaXeV^ai evVo//0^) 
6at, &g iv fjiYirpq.) rrj evvvTrap^ovar), kavry 2ty;;. TavTrjv ^e, 

iJ,lvr)V TO ffTTEppa TOVTO, KOI (yKv/^ova yevofjiEvrjv, drro- 

Nouv, o^zotor TE Kdl iaov T(f TTiOo/SaXovrt, Kal p.6vov 
TO ^iyeOuQ TOV Flarpoe- Tov SE vovv TOIITOV Kal 

fj KaXovai, Kal ap^?)v rwv Trcivrwv. 1 (IDicunt enim esse 
quendam in sublimitatibus illls, quce nee oculis cerni, nee 
nominari possunt, perfectum ^Eonem prceexistentem, quern 
et proarchen, et propatorem, et Bythum vacant. Eum 
autem, quum incomprehensibilis et invisibilis, sempiternus 
idem et ingenitus esset, inftnitis temporum seculis in summa, 
quiete ac tmnquillitate fuisse. Una etiam cum eo Cogita- 
tionem exstitisse, quam et Gratiam et Silentium (Sigeri) nun- 
cupant. Hunc porro Bythum in animum aliquando in- 
duxisse, rerum omnium initium proferre, atque hanc, quam 
in animum induxerat, productionem, in Sigen (silentium) 
quce und cum eo erat, non secus atque in vulvam demisisse. 
Hanc vero, suscepto hoc semine, prcegnantem effectam pepe- 

1 " For they say that in those unseen heights which have no name 
there is a pre-existing, perfect ^Eon ; this they also call fore-rule, fore 
father and the depth. They say, that being incomprehensible and in 
visible, eternal and unborn, he has existed during endless ./Eons in the 
deepest calmness and tranquillity; and that coexisting with him was 
Thought, which they also call Grace and Silence. This Depth once be 
thought him to put forth from himself the beginning of all things and to 
lay that offshoot which he had resolved to put forth like a sperm into 
the coexisting Silence, as it were into a womb. Now this Silence, being 
thus impregnated and having conceived, gave birth to Intellect, a being 
which was like and equal to its Creator, and alone able to comprehend 
the greatness of its father. This Intellect also they call the Only-be 
gotten and the Beginning of all things." [Tr. s add.] 


risse Intellectum, parenti suo parem et cequalem, atque ita 
comparatum, ut solus pater nee magnitudinis capax esset. 
Atque Tiunc Intellectum et Monogenem et Patrem et princi- 
pum omnium rerum appellant.) 

Somehow or other this must have come to Jacob Bohme s 
hearing from the History of Heresy, and Herr von Schelling 
must have received it from him in all faith. 

9. Leibnitz. 

It was Leibnitz who first formally stated the Principle 
of Sufficient Reason as a main principle of all knowledge 
and of all science. He proclaims it very pompously in 
various passages of his works, giving himself great airs, 
as though he had been the first to invent it ; yet all he 
finds to say about it is, that everything must have a suffi 
cient reason for being as it is, and not otherwise : and this 
the world had probably found out before him. True, he 
makes casual allusions to the distinction between its two 
chief significations, without, however, laying any particular 
stress upon it, or explaining it clearly anywhere ebe. The 
principal reference to it is in his " Principia Philosophise," 
32, and a little more satisfactorily in the French version, 
entitled " Monadologie " : En vertu du principe de la raisw 
suffisante, nous considerons qu aucun fait ne sauroit se 
trouver vrai ou existant, aucune enonciation veritable, sans 
qu il y ait une raison suffisante, pourquoi il en soit aimi et 
non pas autrement. 1 

10. Wolf. 

The first writer who explicitly separated the two chit -f 
significations of our principle, and stated the difference 
between them in detail, was therefore Wolf. Wolf, how- 

1 Compare with this 44 of his " Theodicee," and his 5th letter to 
Clarke, 125. 


ever, does not place the principle of sufficient reason in 
Logic, as is now the custom, but in Ontology. True, in 
71 he urges the necessity of not confounding the principle 
of sufficient reason of knowing with that of cause and effect ; 
still he does not clearly determine here where in the difference 
consists. Indeed, he himself mistakes the one for the other ; 
for he quotes instances of cause and effect in confirmation 
of the principium rationis sttfficientis in this very chapter, 
de ratione sufficienie, 70, 74, 75, 77, which, had he really 
wished to preserve that distinction, ought rather to have 
been quoted in the chapter de causis of the same work. 
In said chapter he again brings forward precisely similar 
instances, and once more enunciates the principium cogno- 
scendi ( 876), which does not certainly belong to it, having 
been already discussed, yet which serves to introduce the im 
mediately folio wing clear and definite distinction between this 
principle and the law of causality, 881-884. Principium, 
he continues, dicitur id, quod in se continet rationem alterius ; 
and he distinguishes three kinds : 1. PRINCIPIUM FIENDI 
(causa), which he defines as ratio actualitatis alterius, e.g., 
si lapis calescit, ignis aut radii solares sunt rationes, cur 
calor lapidi insit. 2. PRINCIPIUM ESSENDI, which he 
defines as ratio possibilitatis alterius; in eodem exemplo, 
ratio possibilitatis, cur lapis calorem recipere possit, est 
in essentia seu modo compositionis lapidis. This last con 
ception seems to me inadmissible. If it has any mean 
ing at all, possibility means correspondence with the 
general conditions of experience known to us a priori, as 
Kant has sufficiently shown. From these conditions we 
know, with respect to Wolf s instance of the stone, that 
changes are possible as effects proceeding from causes : we 
know, that is, that one state can succeed another, if the 
former contains the conditions for the latter. In this case 
we find, as effect, the state of being warm in the stone ; 
as cause, the preceding state of a limited capacity for 


warmth in the stone and its contact with free heat. Now, 
Wolf s naming the first mentioned property of this state 
principium essendi, and the second, principium fiendi, rests 
upon a delusion caused by the fact that, so far as the 
stone is concerned, the conditions are more lasting and 
can therefore wait longer for the others. That the stone 
should be as it is : that is, that it should be chemically so 
constituted as to bring with it a particular degree of specific 
heat, consequently a capacity for heat which stands in in 
verse proportion to its specific heat ; that besides it should, 
on the other hand, come into contact with free heat, is 
the consequence of a whole chain of antecedent causes, 
all of them principia fiendi ; but it is the coincidence of 
circumstances on both sides which primarily constitutes 
that condition, upon which, as cause, the becoming warm 
depends, as effect. All this leaves no room for Wolf s 
principium essendi, which I therefore do not admit, and 
concerning which I have here entered somewhat into detail, 
partly because I mean to use the word myself later on in 
a totally different sense ; partly also, because this explana 
tion contributes to facilitate the comprehension of the law 
of causality. 3. Wolf, as we have said, distinguishes a 
PRINCIPIUM COGNOSCENDI, and refers also under causa to 
a causa impulsiva, sive ratio voluntatem determinans. 

11. Philosophers between Wolf and Kant. 

Baumgarten repeats the Wolfian distinctions in his 
" Metaphysica," 20-24, and 306-313. 

Eeimarus, in his " Vernunftlehre," x 81, distinguishes 
1. Inward reason, of which his explanation agrees with 
Wolf s ratio essendi, and might even be applicable to the 
ratio cognoscendi, if he did not transfer to things what only 
applies to conceptions ; 2. Outward reason, i.e. causa. 120 

1 Doctrine of Reason. 


et ssqq., he rightly defines the ratio cognoscendi as a condition 
of the proposition ; but in an example, 125, he neverthe 
less confounds it with cause. 

Lambert, in the new Organon, does not mention Wolfs 
distinctions ; he shows, however, that he recognizes a diffe 
rence between reason of knowledge and cause ; l for he 
says that God is the principium essendi of truths, and that 
truths are the principia cognoscendi of G-od. 

Plattner, in his Aphorisms, 868, says : " What is called 
reason and conclusion within our knowledge (principium 
cognoscendi, ratio rationatum), is in reality cause and effect 
(causa efficiens effectus). Every cause is a reason, every 
effect a conclusion." He is therefore of opinion that 
cause and effect, in reality, correspond to the conceptions 
reason and consequence in our thought ; that the former 
stand in a similar relation with respect to the latter as 
substance and accident, for instance, to subject and predi 
cate, or the quality of the object to our sensation of that 
quality, &c. &c. I think it useless to refute this opinion, 
for it is easy to see that premisses and conclusion in judg 
ments stand in an entirely different relation to one another 
from a knowledge of cause and effect ; although in indi 
vidual cases even knowledge of a cause, as such, may be 
the reason of a judgment which enunciates the effect. 2 

12. Hume. 

No one before this serious thinker had ever doubted 
what follows. First, and before all things in heaven and 
on earth, is the Principle of Sufficient Eeason in the form 
of the Law of Causality. For it is a veritas ceterna : i.e. it is 
in and by itself above Gods and Fate; whereas every 
thing else, the understanding, for instance, which thinks 

1 Lambert, " New Organon," vol. i. 572. 
8 Compare 36. of this treatise. 


that principle, and no less the whole world and whatever 
may be its cause atoms, motion, a Creator, ei ccetera is 
what it is only in accordance with, and by virtue of, that 
principle. Hume was the first to whom it occurred to 
inquire whence this law of causality derives its authority, 
and to demand its credentials. Everyone knows the result 
at which he arrives : that causality is nothing beyond the 
empirically perceived succession of things and states in 
Time, with which habit has made us familiar. The fallacy 
of this result is felt at once, nor is it difficult to refute. The 
merit lies in the question itself ; for it became the impulse 
and starting-point for Kant s profound researches, and by 
their means led to an incomparably deeper and more 
thorough view of Idealism than the one which had hitherto 
existed, and which was chiefly Berkeley s. It led to transcen 
dental Idealism, from which arises the conviction, that the 
world is as dependent upon us, as a whole, as we are depen 
dent upon it in detail. For, by pointing out the existence of 
those transcendental principles, as such, which enable us to 
determine a priori, i.e. before all experience, certain points 
concerning objects and their possibility, he proved that 
these things could not exist, as they present themselves to 
us, independently of our knowledge. The resemblanco 
between a world such as this and a dream, is obvious. 

13. Kant and his School. 

Kant s chief passage on the Principle of Sufficient Reason 
is in a little work entitled " On a discovery, which is to 
permit us to dispense with all Criticism of Pure Reason." 1 
Section I., lit. A. Here he strongly urges the distinction 
between "the logical (formal) principle of cognition 
every proposition must have its reason, and the transcen- 

1 " Ueber eine Entdeckung, nach der alle Kritik der reinen Vernunft 
entbehrlich gemacht werden soil." 


dental (material) principle every thing must have its 
cause, " in his controversy with Eberhard, who had iden 
tified them as one and the same. I intend myself to criticize 
Kant s proof of the a priori and consequently transcen 
dental character of the law of causality further on in a 
separate paragraph, after having given the only true 

With these precedents to guide them, the several writers 
on Logic belonging to Kant s school ; Hofbauer, Maass, 
Jakob, Kiesewetter and others, have denned pretty accu 
rately the distinction between reason and cause. Kiese 
wetter, more especially, gives it thus quite satisfactorily : 1 
" Reason of knowledge is not to be confounded with reason 
of fact (cause). The Principle of Sufficient Eeason belongs 
to Logic, that of Causality to Metaphysics. 2 The former is 
the fundamental principle of thought ; the latter that of 
experience. Cause refers to real things, logical reason has 
only to do with representations." 

Kant s adversaries urge this distinction still more 
strongly. Gr. E. Schultze 3 complains that the Principle of 
Sufficient Eeason is confounded with that of Causality. 
Salomon Maimon 4 regrets that so much should be said 
about the sufficient reason without an explanation of what 
is meant by it, while he blames Kant 5 for deriving the 
principle of causality from the logical form of hypothetical 

F. H. Jacobi 8 says, that by the confounding of the two 
conceptions, reason and cause, an illusion is produced, 
which has given rise to various false speculations ; and he 
points out the distinction between them after his own 

Kiesewetter, "Logik," vol. i. p. 16. 

Ibid. p. 60. 

G. E. Schultze, " Logik," 19, Anmerkung 1, und 63. 

Sal. Mairaon, "Logik," p. 20, 21. 6 Ibid. " Vorrede," p. xxiv. 

Jacobi, " Briefe iiber dieLehre des Spinoza," Beilage 7, p. 414. 


fashion. Here, however, as is usual with him, we find a 
good deal more of self-complacent phrase-jugglery than of 
serious philosophy. 

How Herr von Schelling finally distinguishes reason 
from cause, may be seen in his " Aphorisms introductory 
to the Philosophy of Nature," l 184, which open the first 
book of the first volume of Marcus and Schelling s " Annals 
of Medecine." Here we are taught that gravity is the 
reason and light the cause of all things. This I merely 
quote as a curiosity; for such random talk would not 
otherwise deserve a place among the opinions of serious 
and honest inquirers. 

14. On the Proofs of the Principle. 

We have still to record various fruitless attempts which 
have been made to prove the Principle of Sufficient Eeason, 
mostly without clearly defining in which sense it was 
taken : Wolf s, for instance, in his Ontology, 70, repeated 
by Baumgarten in his " Metaphysics," 20. It is useless 
to repeat and refute it here, as it obviously rests on a 
verbal quibble. Plattner 2 and Jakob 3 have tried other 
proofs, in which, however, the circle is easily detected. I 
purpose dealing with those of Kant further on, as I have 
already said. Since I hope, in the course of this treatise, 
to point out the different laws of our cognitive faculties, 
of which the principle of sufficient reason is the common 
expression, it will result as a matter of course, that this 
principle cannot be proved, and that, on the contrary, 
Aristotle s remark : 4 \6yov fyTovai <Lv OVK t<m \oyog. 

1 * Aphorismen zur Einleitung in die Naturphilosophie." 

2 Plattner, " Aphorismen," 828. 

3 Jakob, " Logik und Metaphysik," p. 38 (1794). 

4 Aristotle, " Metaph." iii. 6. " They seek a reason for that which 
has no reason ; for the principle of demonstration is not demonstration." 
[Tr. s add.] Compare with this citation " Analyt. post." i. 2. 


yap dp\rj OVK aVoate ort (rationem eorum 
qucerant, quorum non est ratio : demonstrationis enim prin- 
cipium non est demonstratio) may be applied with equal 
propriety to all these proofs. For every proof is a refe 
rence to something already recognised ; and if we continue 
requiring a proof again for this something, whatever it be, 
we at last arrive at certain propositions which express the 
forms and laws, therefore the conditions, of all thought and 
of all knowledge, in the application of which consequently 
all thought and all knowledge consists : so that certainty 
is nothing but correspondence with those conditions, forms, 
and laws, therefore their own certainty cannot again be 
ascertained by means of other propositions. In the fifth 
chapter I mean to discuss the kind of truth which belongs 
to propositions such as these. 

To seek a proof for the Principle of Sufficient Eeason, is, 
moreover, an especially flagrant absurdity, which shows a 
want of reflection. Every proof is a demonstration of the 
reason for a judgment which has been pronounced, and 
which receives the predicate true in virtue precisely of that 
demonstration. This necessity for a reason is exactly what 
the Principle of Sufficient Eeason expresses. Now if we 
require a proof of it, or, in other words, a demonstration of 
its reason, we thereby already assume it to be true, nay, 
we found our demand precisely upon that assumption, and 
thus we find ourselves involved in the circle of exacting a 
proof of our right to exact a proof. 



15. Cases which are not comprised among the old estdb- 
lished meanings of the Principle. 

FEOM the summary given in the preceding chapter we 
gather, that two distinct applications of the principle 
of sufficient reason have been recognized, although very 
gradually, very tardily, and not without frequent relapses 
into error and confusion : the one being its application to 
judgments, which, to be true, must have a reason ; the 
other, its application to changes in material objects, which 
must always have a cause. In both cases we find the 
principle of sufficient reason authorizing us to ask why ? a 
quality which is essential to it. But are all the cases in 
which it authorizes us to ask why comprised in these two 
relations? If I ask: Why are the three sides of this 
triangle equal ? the answer is : Because the three angles 
are so. Now, is the equality of the angles the cause of the 
equality of the sides? No; for here we have to do with 
no change, consequently with no effect which must have a 
cause. Is it merely a logical reason ? No ; for the equality 
of the angle is not only a proof of the equality of the 
sides, it is not only the foundation of a judgment : mere 
conceptions alone would never suffice to explain why the 
sides must be equal, because the angles are so ; for the 
conception of the equality of the sides is not contained in 
that of the equality of the angles. Here therefore we 


have no connection between conceptions and judgments, 
but between sides and angles. The equality of the angles 
is not the direct, but the indirect reason, by which we know 
the equality of the sides ; for it is the reason why a thing 
is such as it is (in this case, that the sides are equal) : the 
angles being equal, the sides must therefore be equal. 
Here we have a necessary connection between angles and 
sides, not a direct, necessary connection between two 
judgments. Or again, if I ask why infecta facta, but never 
facta infecta fieri possunt, consequently why the past is 
absolutely irrevocable, the future inevitable, even this does 
not admit of purely logical proof by means of mere abstract 
conceptions, nor does it belong either to causality, which 
only rules occurrences within Time, not Time itself. The 
present hour hurled the preceding one into the bottomless pit 
of the past, not through causality, but immediately, through 
its mere existence, which existence was nevertheless inevi 
table. It is impossible to make this comprehensible or even 
clearer by means of mere conceptions ; we recognise it, on 
the contrary, quite directly and instinctively, just as we 
recognize the difference between right and left and all that 
depends upon it : for instance, that our left glove will not 
fit our right hand, &c. &c. 

Now, as all those cases in which the principle of sufficient 
reason finds its application cannot therefore be reduced 
to logical reason and consequence and to cause and effect, 
the law of specification cannot have been sufficiently at 
tended to in this classification. The law of homogeneity, 
however, obliges us to assume, that these cases cannot differ 
to infinity, but that they may be reduced to certain species. 
Now, before attempting this classification, it will be neces 
sary to determine what is peculiar to the principle of suffi 
cient reason in all cases, as its special characteristic ; be 
cause the conception of the genus must always be deter 
mined before the conception of the species. 


16. The Roots of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. 

Our knowing consciousness, which manifests itself as outer 
and inner Sensibility (or receptivity) and as Understanding 
and Reason, subdivides itself into Subject and Object and 
contains nothing else. To be Object for the Subject and to be 
our representation, are the same thing. All our representa 
tions stand towards one another in a regulated connection, 
which may be determined A PRIORI, and on account of which, 
nothing existing separately and independently, nothing single 
or detached, can become an Object for us. It is this connec 
tion which is expressed by the Principle of Sufficient 
Reason in its generality. Now, although, as may be 
gathered from what has gone before, this connection 
assumes different forms according to the different kinds of 
objects, which forms are differently expressed by the Prin 
ciple of Sufficient Eeason ; still the connection retains what 
is common to all these forms, and this is expressed in a 
general and abstract way by our principle. The relations 
upon which it is founded, and which will be more closely 
indicated in this treatise, are what I call the Root of the 
Principle of Sufficient Eeason. Now, on closer inspection, 
according to the laws of homogeneity and of specification, 
these relations separate into distinct species, which differ 
widely from each other. Their number, however, may be 
reduced to four, according to the four classes into which 
everything that can become an object for us that is to say, 
all our representations may be divided. These classes will 
be stated and considered in the following four chapters. 

We shall see the Principle of Sufficient Reason appear 
under a different form in each of them ; but it will also 
show itself under all as the same principle and as derived 
from the said root, precisely because it admits of being 
expressed as above. 



17. General Account of this Class of Objects. 

^ I ^HE first class of objects possible to our representative 
JL faculty, is that of intuitive, complete, empirical repre 
sentations. They are intuitive as opposed to mere thoughts, 
i.e. abstract conceptions ; they are complete, inasmuch as, 
according to Kant s distinction, they not only contain the 
formal, but also the material part of phenomena ; and they 
are empirical, partly as proceeding, not from a mere con 
nection of thoughts, but from an excitation of feeling in 
our sensitive organism, as their origin, to which they con 
stantly refer for evidence as to their reality : partly also 
because they are linked together, according to the united 
laws of Space, Time and Causality, in that complex without 
beginning or end which forms our Empirical Reality. As, 
nevertheless, according to the result of Kant s teaching, 
this Empirical Reality does not annul their Transcendental 
Ideality, we shall consider them here, where we have only 
to do with the formal elements of knowledge, merely as 

18. Outline of a Transcendental Analysis of Empirical 

The forms of these representations are those of the inner 
and outer sense ; namely, Time and Space. But these are 


only perceptible when filled. Their perceptibility is Hatter, 
to which I shall return further on, and again in 21. If 
Time were the only form of these representations, there 
could be no coexistence, therefore nothing permanent and 
no duration. For Time is only perceived when filled, and 
its course is only perceived by the changes which take place 
in that which fills it. The permanence of an object is 
therefore only recognized by contrast with the changes going 
on in other objects coexistent with it. But the represen 
tation of coexistence is impossible in Time alone ; it de 
pends, for its completion, upon the representation of Space ; 
because, in mere Time, all things follow one another, and 
in mere Space all things are side by side ; it is accordingly 
only by the combination of Time and Space that the repre 
sentation of coexistence arises. 

On the other hand, were Space the sole form of this class 
of representations, there would be no change ; for change 
or alteration is succession of states, and succession is only 
possible in Time. We may therefore define Time as the 
possibility of opposite states in one and the same thing. 

Thus we see, that although infinite divisibility and infi 
nite extension are common to both Time and Space, these 
two forms of empirical representations differ fundamen 
tally, inasmuch as what is essential to the one is without 
any meaning at all for the other : juxtaposition having no 
meaning in Time, succession no meaning in Space. The 
empirical representations which belong to the orderly com 
plex of reality, appear notwithstanding in both forms to 
gether ; nay, the intimate union of both is the condition of 
reality which, in a sense, grows out of them, as a product 
grows out of its factors. Now it is the Understanding 
which, by means of its own peculiar function, brings about 
this union and connects these heterogeneous forms in such 
a manner, that empirical reality albeit only for that 
Understanding arises out of their mutual interpenetra- 


tion, and arises as a collective representation, forming a 
complex, held together by the forms of the principle 
of sufficient reason, but whose limits are problematical. 
Each single representation belonging to this class is a part 
of this complex, each one taking its place in it according 
to laws known to us a priori; in it therefore countless 
objects coexist, because Substance, i.e. Matter, remains 
permanent in spite of the ceaseless flow of Time, and be 
cause its states change in spite of the rigid immobility of 
Space. In this complex, in short, the whole objective, real 
world exists for us. The reader who may be interested in 
this, will find the present rough sketch of the analysis of 
empirical reality further worked out in 4 of the first 
volume of " Die Welt als Wille und Yorstellung," l where 
a closer explanation is given of the way in which the Un 
derstanding effects this union and thus creates for itself 
the empirical world. He will also find a very important 
help in the table, " Prcedicabilia apriori of Time, Space, and 
Matter," which is added to the fourth chapter of the second 
volume of the same work, and which I recommend to his 
attention, as it especially shows how the contrasts of Time 
and Space are equally balanced in Matter, as their product, 
under the form of Causality. 

We shall now proceed to give a detailed exposition of 
that function of the Understanding which is the basis of 
empirical reality ; only we must first, by a few incidental 
explanations, remove the more immediate objections which 
the fundamental idealism of the view I have adopted might 

Vol. i. p. 12, and seqq. of the 1st edition j p. 9 of the 3rd edition. 


19. Immediate Presence of Representations. 

Now as, notwithstanding this union through the Under 
standing of the forms of the inner and outer sense in repre 
senting Matter and with it a permanent outer world, all 
immediate knowledge is nevertheless acquired by the Subject 
through the inner sense alone the outer sense being again 
Object for the inner, which in its turn perceives the percep 
tions of the outer and as therefore, with respect to the 
immediate presence of representations in its consciousness, 
the Subject remains under the rule of Time alone, as the 
form of the inner sense : l it follows, that only one representa 
tion can be present to it (the Subject) at the same time, 
although that one may be very complicated. When we 
speak of representations as immediately present, we mean, 
that they are not only known in the union of Time and Space 
effected by the Understanding an intuitive faculty, as we 
shall soon see through which the collective representa 
tion of empirical reality arises, but that they are known in 
mere Time alone, as representations of the inner sense, and 
just at the neutral point at which its two currents sepa 
rate, called the present. The necessary condition men 
tioned in the preceding paragraph for the immediate pre 
sence of a representation of this class, is its causal action 
upon our senses and consequently upon our organism, 
which itself belongs to this class of objects, and is there 
fore subject to the causal law which predominates in it 
and which we are now about to examine. Now as therefore, 
on the one hand, according to the laws of the inner and outer 
world, the Subject cannot stop short at that one represen 
tation ; but as, on the other hand, there is no coexistence 

1 Compare Kant, " Krit. d. r. Vern." Elementarlehre. Abschnitt ii. 
Schllisse a. d. Begr. b and c. 1st edition, pp. 33 and 34 5 5th edition, 
p. 49. (Transl. M. Mviller, p. 29, b and c.) 


in Time alone: [that single representation must always 
vanish and be superseded by others, in virtue of a law 
which we cannot determine a priori, but which depends 
upon circumstances soon to be mentioned. It is moreover 
a well-known fact, that the imagination and dreams repro 
duce the immediate presence of representations ; the inves 
tigation of that fact, however, belongs to empirical Psy 
chology. Now as, notwithstanding the transitory, isolated 
nature of our representations with respect to their imme 
diate presence in our consciousness, the Subject nevertheless 
retains the representation of an all- comprehensive complex 
of reality, as described above, by means of the function of 
the Understanding ; ^representations! have, W the strength 
of this antithesis, I been viewed,! as something quite dif 
ferent when considered as belonging to that complex 
than when considered with reference to their immediate 
presence in our consciousness. From the former point 
of view they were called i real things ; \ from the latter 
only, ^presentations I^LT klo^v. This view of the matter, 
which is the ordinary one, is known under the name of 
Realism. On the appearance of modern philosophy, 
Idealism opposed itself to this Realism and has since been 
steadily gaining ground. Malebranche and Berkeley were 
its earliest representatives, and Kant enhanced it to the 
power of Transcendental Idealism, by which the co-exis 
tence of the Empirical Eeality of things with their Trans 
cendental Ideality becomes conceivable, and according to 
which Kant expresses himself as follows : l " Transcen 
dental Idealism teaches that all phenomena are represen 
tations only, not things by themselves." And again: 2 

T Kant, " Krit. d. r. V." Kritik des Vierton Paralogismus der transcen- 
dentalen Psychologie, p. 369, 1st edition. lEngl. Transl. by M. Miiller, 
p 320.) 

2 Ibid. 1st edition, pp. 374-375. Note. (Engl. Transl. p. 325. 


" Space itself is nothing but mere representation, and what 
ever is in it must therefore be contained in that represen 
tation. There is nothing whatever in Space, except so far 
as it is really represented in it." Finally he says : x "If we 
take away the thinking Subject, the whole material world 
must vanish ; because it is nothing but a phenomenon in the 
sensibility of our own subject and a certain class of its repre 
sentations." In India, Idealism is even a doctrine of popular 
religion, not only of Brahminism, but of Buddhism ; in 
Europe alone is it a paradox, in consequence of the essen 
tially and unavoidably realistic principle of Judaism. But 
Realism quite overlooks the fact, that the so-called exis 
tence of these real things is absolutely nothing but their 
being represented (ein Vorgestellt-werderi), or if it be in 
sisted, that only the immediate presence in the conscious 
ness of the Subject can be called being represented icar* 
it is even only a possibility of being represented 
The realist forgets that the Object ceases to 
be Object apart from its reference to the Subject, and that 
if we take away that reference, or think it away, we at 
once do away with all objective existence. Leibnitz, while 
he clearly felt the Subject to be the necessary condition for 
the Object, was nevertheless unable to get rid of the 
thought that objects exist by themselves and independently 
of all reference whatsoever to the Subject, i.e. indepen 
dently of being represented. He therefore assumed in the 
first place a world of objects exactly like the world of 
representations and running parallel with it, having no 
direct, but only an outward connection with it by means 
of a harmonia prcestdbilita ; obviously the most super 
fluous thing possible, for it never comes within perception, 
and the precisely similar world of representations which 
does come within perception, goes its own way regardless 

1 Kant, " Krit. d. r. V." " Betrachtung iiber die Summe," &c., p. 383 
of 1st edition. (Engl. Transl. p. 331.) 


of it. When, however, he wanted to determine more closely 
the essence of these things existing objectively in them 
selves, he found himself obliged to declare the Objects in 
themselves to be Subjects (monades), and by doing so he 
furnished the most striking proof of the inability of our 
consciousness, in as far as it is merely cognitive, to find 
within the limits of the intellect i.e. of the apparatus by 
means of which we represent the world anything beyond 
Subject and Object ; the representer and the represented. 
Therefore, if we abstract from the objectivity of an Object, 
or in other words, from its being represented (Vorgestellt- 
werden), if we annul it in its quality as an Object, yet still 
wish to retain something, we can meet with nothing but 
the Subject. Conversely, if we desire to abstract from the 
subjectivity of the Subject, yet to have something over, 
the contrary takes place, and this leads to Materialism. 

Spinoza, who never thoroughly sifted the matter, and 
never therefore acquired a clear notion of it, nevertheless 
quite understood the necessary correlation between Subject 
and Object as so essential, that they are inconceivable 
without it ; consequently he defined it as an identity in the 
Substance (which alone exists) of that which knows, with 
that which has extension. 

OBSERVATION. With reference to the chief argument of this para 
graph, I take the opportunity to remark that if, in the course of this 
treatise, for the sake of brevity and in order to be more easily under 
stood, I at any time use the term real objects, I mean by it nothing 
but the intuitive representations that are united to form the complex of 
empirical reality, which reality in itself always remains ideal. 

20. Principle of Sufficient Reason of Becoming. 

In the Class of Objects for the Subject just described, the 
principle of sufficient reason figures as the Law of Causality, 
and, as such, I call it the Principle of Sufficient Reason 
of Becoming, principium rationis sufficients fiendi. By it, 


all objects presenting themselves within the entire range 
of our representation are linked together, as far as the 
appearance and disappearance of their states is concerned, 
i.e. in the movement of the current of Time, to form the 
complex of empirical reality. The law of causality is as 
follows. When one or several real objects pass into any 
new state, some other state must have preceded this one, 
upon which the new state regularly follows, i.e. as often as 
that preceding one occurs. This sort of following we call 
resulting ; the first of the states being named a cause, the 
second an effect. When a substance takes fire, for instance, 
this state of ignition must have been preceded by a state, 
1, of affinity to oxygen ; 2, of contact with oxygen ; 
3, of a given temperature. Now, as ignition must ne 
cessarily follow immediately upon this state, and as it has 
only just taken place, that state cannot always have been 
there, but must, on the contrary, have only just supervened. 
This supervening is called a change. It is on this account 
that the law of causality stands in exclusive relation to 
changes and has to do with them alone. Every effect, at the 
time it takes place, is a change and, precisely by not having 
occurred sooner, infallibly indicates some other change ly 
which it has been preceded. That other change takes the 
name of cause, when referred to the following one of 
effect, when referred to a third necessarily preceding change. 
This is the chain of causality. It is necessarily without a 
beginning. By it, each supervening state must have re 
sulted from a preceding change : in the case just men 
tioned, for instance, from the substance being brought into 
contact with free heat, from which necessarily resulted the 
heightened temperature ; this contact again depended 
upon a preceding change, for instance the sun s rays falling 
upon a. burning-glass ; this again upon the removal of a 
cloud from before the sun ; this upon the wind ; the wind 
upon the unequal density of the atmosphere ; this upon 


other conditions, and so forth in infinitum. When a state 
contains all the requisite conditions for bringing about a 
new state excepting one, this one, when at last it arrives, is, 
in a sense, rightly called the cause icar l^o^rjy, inasmuch 
as we here have the final in this case the decisive change 
especially in view ; but if we leave out this consideration, 
no single condition of the causal state has any advantage 
over the rest with reference to the determination of the 
causal connection in general, merely because it happens to 
be the last. Thus the removal of the cloud in the above 
example, is in so far the cause of the igniting, as it took 
place later than the direction of the burning-glass towards 
the object; but this might have taken place after the 
removal of the cloud and the addition of oxygen might 
have occurred later still : in this respect therefore it is the 
accidental order of things that determines which is the 
cause. On closer inspection, however, we find that it is 
the entire state which is the cause of the ensuing one, 
so that the chronological order in which its single con 
ditions were brought about, is in all essential respects 
indifferent. With reference to a given case therefore, the 
last occurring condition of a state may be called the cause 
/car i^o\i]v t because it completes the measure of the necessary 
conditions, and its appearance thus becomes the decisive 
change. For purposes of general consideration, however, 
it is only the entire state which, by bringing about its suc 
cessor, can be regarded as the cause. The single requisites 
which, added together, complete and constitute the cause 
may be called causal elements (ursdchliche Momente) or even 
conditions, and into these accordingly the cause may be 
subdivided. On the other hand, it is quite wrong to call 
the objects themselves causes, instead of the states : some 
would, for instance, call the burning-glass in the above 
example the cause of the ignition ; while others, again, 
would call the cloud the cause; others the sun or the 


oxygen, and so on arbitrarily and without order. But it is 
absurd to call an object the cause of another object ; first of 
all, because objects not only contain form and quality, but 
Matter also, which has neither beginning or end ; secondly, 
because the law of causality refers exclusively to changes, 
i.e. to the entrance and exit of states in Time, wherein it. 
regulates that special relation, in reference to which the 
earlier state is called cause, the later effect, and the ne 
cessary connection between both, the resulting of the one 
from the other. 

I here refer the thoughtful reader to the explanations I 
have given in my chief work. 1 For it is of the highest im 
portance that our conception of the true and proper mean- 
ing of the law of causality and the sphere of its validity 
should be perfectly clear and definite : before all things, 
that we should recognize, that this law refers solely and 
exclusively to changes of material states and to nothing 
else whatever; consequently, that it ought not to bo 
brought in when these are not in question. The law of 
causality is the regulator of the changes undergone in 
Time by objects of our outer experience; but these objects 
are all material. Each change can only be brought about 
by another having preceded it, which is determined by a 
rule, and then the new change takes place as being neces 
sarily induced by the preceding one. This necessity is the 
causal nexus. 

However simple therefore the law of causality is, we 
nevertheless find it expressed quite differently in all philo 
sophical manuals, from the earliest down to the latest 
ages : namely, in a broader, more abstract, therefore less 
definite way. We are, for instance, informed, now, that it 
is that by which something else comes into being ; now, 
that it is what produces another thing or gives it reality, 

1 " Die Welt a. W. u. V." vol. ii. chap. 4, especially p. 42 and seq. of 
the 2nd edition ; p. 46 seq. of the 3rd edition. 


&c. &c. Wolf says: Causa est principium, a quo exis- 
tentia, sive actualitas, entis alterius dependet ; whereas it is 
obvious that in causality we have only to do with changes 
in the form of uncreated, indestructible Matter, and that 
a springing into existence of what did not previously exist 
is an impossibility. Want of clearness of thought may, no 
doubt, in most cases have led to these views of the causal 
relation ; but surely sometimes an arriere-pensee lurks in 
the background a theological intention coqueting with 
the Cosmological Proof, for whose sake it is ready to 
falsify even transcendental, a priori truths, the mother s 
milk of human understanding. We find the clearest 
instance of this in Thomas Brown s book, " On the Eela- 
tion of Cause and Effect," a work of 460 pages, which, in 
1835, had already reached its fourth edition, and has pro 
bably since gone through several more, and which, in spite 
of its wearisome, pedantic, rambling prolixity, does not 
handle the subject badly. Now this Englishman rightly 
recognises, that it is invariably with changes that the 
causal law has to do, and that every effect is accordingly a 
change. Yet, although it can hardly have escaped him, he 
is unwilling to admit that every cause is likewise a change t 
and that the whole process is therefore nothing but the 
uninterrupted nexus of changes succeeding one another in 
Time. On the contrary, he persists in clumsily calling the 
cause an object or substance, which precedes the change, 
and in tormenting himself throughout his tedious book 
with this entirely false expression, which spoils all his 
explanations, notwithstanding his own better knowledge 
and against his conscience, simply in order that his defini 
tion may on no account stand in the way of the Cosmo- 
logical Proof, which others might hereafter state elsewhere. 
But what can a truth be worth which needs devices such 
as these to prepare its way ? 

And what have our own worthy, honest German pro- 


fessors of philosophy been doing in behalf of their dearly 
beloved Cosmological Proof, since Kant dealt it the death 
blow in his Critique of Pure Reason? they, who prize 
truth above everything. They were, indeed, at their wits 
ends, for as these -worthies well know, though they do not 
say so causa prima is, just as well as causa sui, a contra- 
dictio in adjecto, albeit the former expression is more 
generally used than the latter. It is besides usually 
pronounced with a very serious, not to say solemn, 
air ; nay, many people, especially English Reverends, turn 
up their eyes in a truly edifying way when they im 
pressively and emphatically mention that contradictio in 
adjecto : the first cause. They know that a first cause 
is just as inconceivable as the point at which Space 
ends or the moment when Time first began. For every 
cause is a change, which necessarily obliges us to ask for 
the preceding change that brought it about, and so on in 
infinitum, in infinitum ! Even a first state of Matter, from 
which, as it has ceased to be, all following states could 
have proceeded, is inconceivable. For if this state had in 
itself been the cause of the following ones, they must like 
wise have existed from all eternity, and the actual state 
existing at the present moment could not have only just 
now come into being. If, on the other hand, that first 
state only began to be causal at some given period, some 
thing or other must have changed it, for its inactivity to 
have ceased; but then something must have occurred, 
some change must have taken place ; and this again 
obliges us to ask for its cause i.e. a change which pre 
ceded it ; and here we are once more on the causal ladder, 
up which we are whipped step by step, higher and higher, 
in infinitum, in infinitum ! (These gentlemen will surely 
not have the face to talk to me of Matter itself arising out 
of nothing ! If so, they will find corollaries at their service 
further on.) The causal law therefore is not so acconi- 


modating as to let itself be used like a hired cab, 
which we dismiss when we have reached our destination ; 
rather does it resemble the broom brought to life by the 
apprentice- wizard in Gothe s poem, 1 which, when once set 
in motion, does not leave off running and fetching water 
until the old master-wizard himself stops it, which he 
alone has the power to do. These gentlemen, however, 
have no master- wizards among them. So what did they 
do, these noble, genuine lovers of truth, ever on the alert, 
of course, to proclaim the advent of real merit to the 
world as soon as it shows itself in their profession, who 
far from wishing to divert attention from the works of 
those who are really what they only seem to be, by craftily 
ignoring and meanly keeping them dark, are naturally 
foremost to acknowledge their worth aye, surely, as surely 
as folly loves wisdom above everything ? What did they 
do, I say, to help their old friend, the sorely distressed 
Cosmological Proof, now at its last gasp ? Oh, they hit 
upon a shrewd device. " Friend," they said, " you are in 
sorry plight since your fatal encounter with that stubborn 
old man in Konigsberg, and indeed your brethren, the Onto- 
logical and Physico-theological Proofs are in no better 
condition. Never mind, you shall not be abandoned by 
us (that is what we are paid for, you know) ; only you 
must alter your dress and your name there is no help 
for it for if we call you by your right name, every 
one will take to his heels. Now incognito, on the contrary, 
we can take you by the arm, and once more lead you into 
society ; only, as we have just said, it must be incognito ! 
That is sure to answer ! First of all, your argument must 
henceforth be called the Absolute. This has a foreign, 
dignified, aristocratic ring ; and no one knows better than 
we do all that can be done with Germans by assuming airs 
of importance. Of course all know what the real meaning 
1 Gothe, " Der Zauberlehrling." 


is, and pique themselves upon that knowledge. But you 
yourself must come forward disguised, in the form of an 
enthymeme. Be sure and leave behind you all those pro- 
syllogisms and premisses, by which you used to drag us 
wearily up the long climax, for everyone knows how utterly 
useless they are. Come forward with a bold face and a 
self-sufficient, supercilious air, like a man of few words, 
and at one bound you will reach the goal. Exclaim (and 
we will chime in), The Absolute, confound it ! that must 
exist, or there would be nothing at all ! Here, strike 
the table with your fist. Whence does the Absolute 
come ? What a silly question ! Did not I tell you 
it was the Absolute ? That will do, forsooth ! That 
will do ! Germans are accustomed to content themselves 
with words instead of thoughts. Do we not train them 
to it from their cradle? Only look at Hegelianism ! 
What is it but empty, hollow, nauseous twaddle ! Yet 
how brilliant a career was that of this philosophical 
time-server ! A few mercenary individuals had only to 
strike up a laudation of this stuff, and they at once 
found an echo to their voices in the empty hollow of a 
thousand numskulls an echo which still continues to re 
sound, and to extend and behold ! an ordinary intellect, 
a common impostor soon became a sublime thinker. Take 
heart, therefore ! Besides, our friend and patron, we will 
also second you in other ways, for how, indeed, are we to 
get a living without you ? So that carping old faultfinder, 
Kant, has been criticizing Reason, and clipping her wings, 
has he ? Well, then, we will invent a new sort of Reason, 
such as has never been heard of a Eeason that does not 
think, but which has direct intuition a Reason which sees 
Ideas (a high-flown word, made to mystify), sees them 
bodily ; or which apprehends directly that which you and 
others seek to prove ; or, again, a Reason which has 
forebodings of all this this last for the benefit of those 


who do not care to make large concessions, but also are 
satisfied with very little. Let us thus pass off early incul 
cated, popular conceptions for direct revelations of this 
new kind of Reason, i.e. for inspirations from above. As 
for that old-fashioned Eeason, which criticism has criti 
cized away, let us degrade it, call it Understanding, and 
send it about its business. Well, and what is to become 
of real, true Understanding? What in the world have 
we to do with real, true Understanding ? You smile in 
credulously ; but we know our listeners, and the harum, 
horum we see on the students benches before us. Bacon 
of Verulam already in his time said : Young men learn to 
believe at Universities. Of this they can learn as much as 
they wish from us ; we have a good stock of articles of 
faith on hand. Should any misgivings assail you, re 
member that we are in Germany, where what would have 
been impossible in any other country, has been found 
possible: where a dull-witted, ignorant, pseudo-philosopher, 
whose ineffably hollow verbiage disorganizes peoples 
brains completely and permanently, a scribbler of non 
sense I am speaking of our dearly beloved Hegel has 
not only been actually proclaimed a profound thinker with 
impunity, and even without incurring ridicule, but is 
readily accepted as such : yes, indeed, for this fiction has 
found credence for the last thirty years, and is believed to 
this day! Once therefore we have this Absolute with 
your help, we are quite safe, in spite of Kant and his 
Critique. We may then philosophise in a lofty tone, 
making the Universe proceed from the Absolute by means 
of the most heterogeneous deductions, one more tiresome 
than the other this, by the way, being their only point of 
resemblance. We can call the world the Finite, and the 
Absolute the Infinite thus giving an agreeable variety to 
our nonsense and talk of nothing but God, explaining 
how, why, wherefore, by what voluntary or involuntary 


process lie created or brought forth the -world, showing 
whether he be within or without it, and so forth, as if 
Philosophy were Theology, and as if it sought for en 
lightenment concerning God, not concerning the Universe!" 

The Cosmological Proof, with which we here have to do, 
and to which the above apostrophe is addressed, consists 
thus, properly speaking, in the assertion, that the principle 
of the sufficient reason of becoming, or the law of causality, 
necessarily leads to a thought which destroys it and de 
clares it to be null and void. For the causa prima (abso- 
lutum) can only be reached by proceeding upwards from con 
sequence to reason, through a series prolonged ad libitum ; 
but it is impossible to stop short at the causa prima with 
out at once annulling the principle of sufficient reason. 

Having thus briefly and clearly shown the nullity of the 
Cosmological Proof, as I had in my second chapter already 
shown the nullity of the Ontological Proof, the sympa 
thizing reader may perhaps expect me to do the same with 
respect to the Physico-theological Proof, which is a great 
deal more plausible. As, however, this belongs by its 
nature to a different department of philosophy, it would 
be quite out of place here. I therefore refer him to Kant s 
Critique of Pure Reason, as well as to his Critique of 
the Faculty of Judgment, where he treats this subject ex 
professo ; I likewise refer him, as a complement to Kant s 
purely negative procedure, to my own positive one in " The 
Will in Nature," l a work which, though small in bulk, is 
rich and weighty in content. As for the indifferent reader, 
he is free to let this and indeed all my writings pass down 
unread to his descendants. It matters not to me ; for I am 
here, not for one generation only, but for many. 

Now, as the law of causality is known to us a priori, and is 
therefore a transcendental law, applicable to every possible 

1 The translation of which follows the Fourfold Root in the present 


experience and consequently without exception, as will be 
shown in 21 ; as moreover it decides, that upon a given, 
definite, relatively first state, a second equally definite one 
inevitably ensues by rule, i.e., always ; the relation between 
cause and effect is a necessary one, so that the causal law 
authorizes us to form hypothetical judgments, and thereby 
shows itself to be a form of the principle of sufficient 
reason, upon which principle all judgments must be founded 
and, as will be shown further on, all necessity is based. 

This form of our principle I call the principle of ike 
sufficient reason of becoming, because its application in 
variably pre- supposes a change, the entering upon a new 
state : consequently a becoming. One of its essential charac 
teristics is this : that the cause always precedes the effect in 
Time (compare 47), and this alone gives us the original 
criterion by which to distinguish which is cause and which 
effect, of two states linked together by the causal nexus. 
Conversely, in some cases, the causal nexus is known to us 
through former experience ; but the rapidity with which 
the different states follow upon each other is so great, that 
the order in which this happens escapes our perception. 
"We then conclude with complete certitude from causality 
to succession : thus, for instance, we infer that the igniting 
of gunpowder precedes its explosion. 1 

From this essential connection between causality and 
succession it follows, that the conception of reciprocity, 
strictly speaking, has no meaning; for it presumes the 
effect to be again the cause of its cause : that is, that 
what follows is at the same time what precedes. In a 
" Critique of Kantian Philosophy," which I have added to 
my chief work, and to which I refer my readers, 2 1 have 

1 Here I refer my readers to " Die Welt als Wille und Vorstelluug," 
vol. ii. chap. 4, p. 41 of the 2nd edition, and p. 45 of the 3rd edition. 

2 " Die Welt a. W. u. V." vol. i. pp. 517-521 of the 2nd edition, and 
pp. 544-549 of the 3rd edition. 


shown at length that this favourite conception is inadmis 
sible. It may be remarked, that authors usually have re 
course to it just when their insight is becoming less clear, 
and this accounts for the frequency of its use. Nay, it is 
precisely when a writer conies to the end of his conceptions, 
that the word reciprocity presents itself more readily 
than any other ; it may, in fact, be looked upon as a kind 
of alarm-gun, denoting that the author has got out of his 
depth. It is also worthy of remark, that the word Week- 
selwirlcung, literally reciprocal action or, as we have pre 
ferred translating it, reciprocity is only found in the 
German language, and that there is no precise equivalent 
for it in daily use in any other tongue. 

From the law of causality spring two corollaries which, 
in virtue of this origin, are accredited as cognitions a priori, 
therefore as unquestionable and without exception. They 
are, the law of inertia and that of permanence of substance. 
The first of these laws avers, that every state in which a 
body can possibly be consequently that of repose as well 
as that of any kind of movement must last for ever with 
out change, diminution, or augmentation, unless some cause 
supervenes to alter or annul it. But the other law, by which 
the eternity of Matter is affirmed, results from the fact, that 
the law of causality is exclusively applicable to states of 
bodies, such as repose, movement, form, and quality, since it 
presides over their temporal passing in or out of being ; but 
that it is by no means applicable to the existence of that which 
endures these states, and is called Substance, in order pre 
cisely to express its exemption from all arising and perish 
ing. Substance is permanent means, that it can neither pass 
into, nor out of being : so that its quantity existing in the 
universe can neither be increased nor diminished. That 
we know this a priori, is proved by the consciousness of 
unassailable certainty with which, when we see a body dis 
appear whether it be by conjuring, by minute subdivision, 


by combustion, volatilisation, or indeed any process what 
ever we all nevertheless firmly assume that its sub 
stance, i.e. its matter, must still exist somewhere or other 
in undiminished quantity, whatever may have become 
of its form ; likewise, when we perceive a body suddenly in 
a place where it was not before, that it must have been 
brought there or formed by some combination of invisible 
particles for instance, by precipitation but that it, i.e. 
its substance, cannot have then started into existence ; 
for this implies a total impossibility and is utterly incon 
ceivable. The certainty with which we assume this before 
hand (a priori) , proceeds from the fact, that our Understand 
ing possesses absolutely no form under which to conceive 
the beginning and end of Matter. For, as before said, the 
law of causality the only form in which we are able to 
conceive changes at all is solely applicable to states of 
bodies, and never under any circumstances to the existence 
of that which undergoes all changes : Matter. This is why I 
place the principle of the permanence of Matter among the 
corollaries of the causal law. Moreover, we cannot have 
acquired a posteriori the conviction that substance is per 
manent, partly because it cannot, in most instances, be 
empirically established; partly also, because every em 
pirical knowledge obtained exclusively by means of induc 
tion, has only approximate, consequently precarious, never 
unconditioned, certainty. The firmness of our persuasion as 
to this principle is therefore of a different kind and nature 
from our security of conviction with regard to the accuracy 
of any empirically discovered law of Nature, since it has an 
entirely different, perfectly unshakable, never vacillating 
firmness. The reason of this is, that the principle ex 
presses . a transcendental knowledge, i.e. one which deter 
mines and fixes, prior to all experience, what is in any way 
possible within the whole range of experience ; but, pre 
cisely by this, it reduces the world of experience to a mere 



cerebral phenomenon. Even the most universal among 
the non-transcendental laws of Nature and the one least 
liable to exception the law of gravitation is of empirical 
origin, consequently without guarantee as to its absolute 
universality ; wherefore it is still from time to time called 
in question, and doubts occasionally arise as to its validity 
beyond our solar system ; and astronomers carefully call 
attention to any indications corroborative of its doubtful 
ness with which they may happen to meet, thereby show 
ing that they regard it as merely empirical. The question 
may of course be raised, whether gravitation takes effect 
between bodies which are separated by an absolute vacuum, 
or whether its action within a solar system may not be 
mediated by some sort of ether, and may not cease alto 
gether between fixed stars ; but these questions only admit 
of an empirical solution, and this proves that here we have 
not to do with a knowledge a priori. If, on the other hand, 
we admit with Kant and Laplace the hypothesis, as the 
most probable one, that each solar system has developed 
out of an original nebula by a gradual process of condensa 
tion, we still cannot for a moment conceive the possibility 
of that original substance having sprung into being 
out of nothing : we are forced to assume the anterior 
existence of its particles somewhere or other, as well as 
their having been brought together somehow or other, 
precisely because of the transcendental nature of the prin 
ciple of the permanence of Substance. In my Critique 
of Kantian Philosophy, 1 I have shown at length, that 
Substance is but another word for Matter, the conception of 
substance not being realisable excepting in Matter, and 
therefore deriving its origin from Matter, and I have also 
specially pointed out how that conception was formed 
solely to serve a surreptitious purpose. Like many other 

1 Die Welt a. W. u. V." vol. i. p. 550 of 2nd, and 580 of 3rd 


equally certain truths, this eternity of Matter (called the 
permanence of substance) is forbidden fruit for professors 
of philosophy ; so they slip past it with a bashful, sidelong 

By the endless chain of causes and effects which directs 
all changes but never -extends beyond them, two existing 
things remain untouched, precisely because of the limited 
range of its action : on the one hand, Matter, as we have 
just shown ; on the other hand, the primary forces of 
Nature. The first (matter) remains uninfluenced by the 
causal nexus, because it is that which undergoes all changes, 
or on which they take place ; the second (the primary 
forces), because it is they alone ~by which changes or effects 
become possible ; for they alone give causality to causes, 
i.e. the faculty of operating, which the causes therefore 
hold as mere vassals a fief. Cause and effect are changes 
connected together to necessary succession in Time ; 
whereas the forces of Nature by means of which all causes 
operate, are exempt from all change ; in this sense there 
fore they are outside Time, but precisely on that account 
they are always and everywhere in reserve, omnipresent 
and inexhaustible, ever ready to manifest themselves, as 
soon as an opportunity presents itself in the thread of 
causality. A cause, like its effect, is invariably something 
individual, a single change ; whereas a force of Nature is 
something universal, unchangeable, present at all times 
and in all places. The attraction of a thread by amber, 
for instance, at the present moment, is an effect ; its cause 
is the preceding friction and actual contact of the amber 
with the thread ; and the force of Nature which acts in, 
and presides over, the process, is Electricity. The explana 
tion of this matter is to be found in my chief work, 1 and 
there I have shown in a long chain of causes and effects 

1 See " Die Welt a. W. u. V." vol. i. 26, p. 153 of the 2nd, and 
p. 160 of the 3rd edition. 


how the most heterogeneous natural forces successively 
come into play in them. By this explanation the difference 
between transitory phenomena and permanent forms of 
operation, becomes exceedingly clear ; and as, moreover, a 
whole section ( 26) is devoted to the question, it will be 
sufficient here to give a brief sketch of it. The rule, by 
which a force of Nature manifests itself in the chain of 
causes and effects consequently the link which connects it 
with them is the law of Nature. But the confusion 
between forces of Nature and causes is as frequent as it 
is detrimental to clearness of thought. It seems indeed 
as though no one had accurately defined the difference 
between these conceptions before me, however great may 
have been the urgency for such a distinction. Not only 
are forces of Nature turned into causes by such expres 
sions as, Electricity, Gravity, &c., are the cause of so-and- 
so, but they are even often turned into effects by those wlio 
search for a cause for Electricity, Gravity, <fec. &c., which 
is absurd. Diminishing the number of the forces of Nature, 
however, by reducing one to another, as for instance 
Magnetism is in our days reduced to Electricity, is a 
totally different thing. Every true, consequently really 
primary force of Nature and every fundamental chemical 
property belongs to these forces is essentially a quali- 
tas occulta, i.e. it does not admit of physical, but only of 
metaphysical explanation : in other words, of an explana 
tion which transcends the world of phenomena. No one has 
carried this confusion, or rather identification, of causes 
with forces of Nature further than Maine de Biran in his 
"Nouvelles considerations des rapports du physique au 
moral," for it is essential to his philosophy. It is besides 
remarkable, that when he speaks of causes, he rarely uses 
the word cause alone, but almost always speaks of cause 
ou force, just as we have seen Spinoza above (8) write ratio 
sive causa no less than eight times in the same page. Both 


writers are evidently conscious that they are identifying 
two disparates, in order to be able to make use of the one 
or the other, according to circumstances ; for this end they 
are obliged to keep the identification constantly before their 
readers mind. 

Now Causality, as the director of each and every change, 
presents itself in Nature under three distinct forms: as 
causes in the strictest acceptation of the word, as stimuli, 
and as motives. It is just upon this difference that the 
real, essential distinction between inorganic bodies, plants, 
and animals is based, and not upon external, anatomical, 
let alone chemical, distinctions. 

A cause, in its narrowest sense, is that upon which 
changes in the inorganic kingdom alone ensue : those 
changes, that is to say, which form the theme of Mechanics, 
Physics, and Chemistry. Newton s third fundamental 
law, " Action and reaction are equal to one another," applies 
exclusively to this cause, and enunciates, that the state 
which precedes (the cause) undergoes a change equivalent 
to that produced by it (the effect). In this form of 
causality alone, moreover, does the degree of the effect 
always exactly correspond to the degree of the cause, so as 
to enable us accurately to calculate the one by means of 
the other. 

The second form of causality is the stimulus ; it reigns 
over organic life, as such, i.e. over plant life and the vegeta 
tive, that is, the unconscious, part of animal life. This 
second form is characterized by the absence of the distinc 
tive signs of the first. In it accordingly action and re 
action are not equal, nor does the intensity of the effect by 
any means correspond throughout all its degrees to the 
intensity of the cause ; in fact, the opposite effect may even 
be produced by intensifying the cause. 

The third form of causality is the motive. Under this 
form causality rules animal life proper : that is, the exte- 


rior, consciously performed actions of all animals. The 
medium for motives is knowledge : an intellect is accord 
ingly needed for susceptibility to motives. The true 
characteristic of the animal is therefore the faculty of 
knowing, of representing (Das Vorstelleri). Animals, as 
such, always move towards some aim and end, which 
therefore must have been recognised by them : that is to 
say, it must have presented itself to them as some 
thing different from themselves, yet of which they are 
conscious. Therefore the proper definition of the animal 
would be : That which knows ; for no other definition 
quite hits the mark or can even perhaps stand the test of 
investigation. Movement induced by motives is necessarily 
wanting where there is no cognitive faculty, and movement 
by stimuli alone remains, i.e. plant life. Irritability and 
sensibility are therefore inseparable. Still motives evi 
dently act in a different way from stimuli ; for the action 
of the former may be very brief, nay, need only be 
momentary; since their efficacy, unlike that of stimuli, 
stands in no relation whatever to the duration of that 
action, to the proximity of the object, &c. &c. A motive 
needs but to be perceived therefore, to take effect ; whereas 
stimuli always require outward, often even inward, contact 
and invariably a certain length of time. 

This short sketch of the three forms of causality will 
suffice here. They are more fully described in my Prize- 
essay on Free Will. 1 One thing, however, still remains to 
be urged. The difference between cause, stimulus, and 
motive, is obviously only a consequence of the various 
degrees of receptivity of beings ; the greater their recepti 
vity, the feebler may be the nature of the influence : a stone 
needs an impact, while man obeys a look. Nevertheless, 
both are moved by a sufficient cause, therefore with the 

1 See " Die beiden Grunclprobleme der Etkik," p. 30-34. 


same necessity. For motivation * is only causality pass 
ing through knowledge ; the intellect is the medium of the 
motives, because it is the highest degree of receptivity. By 
this, however, the law of causality loses nothing whatever 
of its rigour and certainty; for motives are causes and 
operate with the same necessity which all causes bring 
with them. This necessity is easy to perceive in animals 
because of the greater simplicity of their intellect, which is 
limited to the perception of what is present. Man s in 
tellect is double : for not only has he intuitive, but abstract, 
knowledge, which last is not limited to what is present. 
Man possesses Reason ; he therefore has a power of elective 
decision with clear consciousness : that is, he is able to weigh 
against one another motives which exclude each other, as 
such ; in other terms, he can let them try their strength on 
his will. The most powerful motive then decides him, and 
his actions ensue with just the same necessity as the roll 
ing of a ball after it has been struck. Freedom of Will * 
means (not professorial twaddle but) " that a given human 
being, in a given situation, can act in two different ways." 
But the utter absurdity of this assertion is a truth as 
certain and as clearly proved, as any truth can be which 
passes the limits of pure mathematics. In my Essay on 
Free Will, to which the Norwegian Society awarded the 
prize, this truth is demonstrated more clearly, methodi 
cally, and thoroughly than has been done before by anyone 
else, and this moreover with special reference to those 
facts of our consciousness by which ignorant people 
imagine that absurdity to be confirmed. In all that is 
essential however, Hobbes, Spinoza, Priestley, Yoltaire, 

1 The word "motivation," though it may appear objectionable to the 
English reader, seemed unavoidable here, as being Schopenhauer s own 
term, for which there is no adequate equivalent in general use in our 
language. [Translator s note.] 

2 Here usedin theabsolute sense ofliberum arbitriumindiffercnticB. [Tr.] 


and even Kant l already taught the same doctrine. Our 
professional philosophers, of course, do not let this inter 
fere with their holding forth on Free Will, as if it were an 
understood thing which had never been questioned. But 
what do these gentlemen imagine the above-named great 
men to have come into the world for, by the grace of 
Nature? To enable them (the professors) to earn their 
livelihood by philosophy ? Since I had proved this 
truth in my prize-essay more clearly than had ever been 
done before, and since moreover a Royal Society had 
sanctioned that proof by placing my essay among its 
memoranda, it surely behoved these worthies, considering 
the views they held, to make a vigorous attack upon so 
pernicious a doctrine, so detestable a heresy, and thoroughly 
to refute it. Nay, this duty was all the more imperative 

1 " Whatever conception one may form of freedom of the will, for 
metaphysical purposes, its phenomena, human actions, are neverthe 
less determined by universal laws of Nature, just as well as every other 
occurrence in Nature." " Ideen /u einer allgemeinen Geschichte." 
Anfang. I. Kant. " All the acts of a man, so far as they are phenomena, 
are determined from his empirical character and from the other con 
comitant causes, according to the order of Nature; and if we could investi 
gate all the manifestations of his will to the very bottom, there would be 
not a single human action which we could not predict with certainty and 
recognize from its preceding conditions as necessary. There is no free 
dom therefore with reference to this empirical character, and yet it is 
only with reference to it that we can consider man, when we are meroly 
observing, and, as is the case in anthropology, trying to investigate the 
motive causes of his actions physiologically." " Kritik. d. r. Vern." 
p. 549 of the 1st edition, and p. 577 of the 5th edition. (Engl. Transl. 
by M. Miiller, p. 474.) 

"It may therefore be taken for granted, that if we could see far 
enough into a man s mode of thinking, as it manifests itself in his inner, 
as well as outer actions, for us to know every, even the faintest motive* 
and in like manner all the other causes which act upon these, it would 
be possible to calculate his conduct in future with the same certainty as 
an eclipse of the sun or moon." " Kritik. der praktischen Vernunft " ed. 
Rosenkianz, p. 230 and p. 177 of the 4th edition. 


as, in my other essay " On the Foundation of Morality," l 
I had proved the utter groundlessness of Kant s practical 
Reason with its Categorical Imperative which, under the 
name of the Moral Law, is still used by these gentlemen as 
the corner-stone of their own shallow systems of morality. 
I have shown it to be a futile assumption so clearly and 
irrefutably, that no one with a spark of judgment can 
possibly believe any longer in this fiction. " Well, and so 
they probably did." Oh no ! They take good care not to 
venture on such slippery ground ! Their ability consists in 
holding their tongues ; silence is all they have to oppose 
to intelligence, earnestness, and truth. In not one of the 
products of their useless scribblings that have appeared 
since 1841, has the slightest notice been taken of my 
Ethics undoubtedly the most important work on Moral 
Philosophy that has been published for the last sixty 
years nay, their terror of me and of my truth is so great, 
that none of the literary journals issued by Academies or 
Universities has so much as mentioned the book. Zitto, 
zitto, lest the public should perceive anything : in this 
consists the whole of their policy. The instinct of self- 
preservation may, no doubt, be at the bottom of these 
artful tactics. For would not a philosophy, whose sole aim 
was truth, and which had no other consideration in view, 
be likely to play the part of the iron pot among the 
earthen ones, were it to come in contact with the petty 
systems composed under the influence of a thousand per 
sonal considerations by people whose chief qualification is 
the propriety of their sentiments ? Their wretched fear of 
my writings is the fear of truth. Nor can it be denied, 
that precisely this very doctrine of the complete necessity 
of all acts of the will stands in flagrant contradiction with 
all thfe hypotheses of their favourite old- woman s philo- 

1 Published in the same volume with the Prize-Essay on " Fre6 
Will." See " Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik." 


Sophy cut after the pattern of Judaism. Still, that severely 
tested truth, far from being disturbed by all this, as a 
sure datum and criterion, as a true SOQ p.oi irov ar&, proves 
the futility of all that old- woman s philosophy and the 
urgent need of a fundamentally different, incomparably 
deeper view of the Universe and of Man ; no matter 
whether that view be compatible with the official duties 
of a professional philosopher or not, 


21. A priori character of the conception of Causality. 
Intellectual Character of Empirical Perception. 


In the professorial philosophy of our philosophy-pro 
fessors we are still taught to this day, that perception of the 
outer world is a thing of the senses, and then there fol 
lows a long dissertation upon each of the five senses; 
whereas no mention whatever is made of the intellectual 
character of perception : that is to say, of the fact, that it 
is mainly the work of the Understanding, which, by means 
of its own peculiar form of Causality, together with the 
forms of pure sensibility, Time and Space, which are pos 
tulated by Causality, primarily creates and produces the 
objective, outer world out of the raw material of a few sen 
sations. And yet in its principal features, I had stated 
this matter in the first edition of the present treatise 1 
and soon after developed it more fully in my treatise " On 
Vision and Colours" (1816), of which Professor Rosas has 
shown his appreciation by allowing it to lead him into 
plagiarism. 2 But our professors of philosophy have not 

1 Anno 1813, pp. 53-55. 

2 For further details see my " Will in Nature," p. 19 of the 1st edition, 
and p. 14 of the 3rd. (P. 230 et seqq. of the translation of the " Will in 
Nature," which follows the " Fourfold Root" in the present volume.) 


thought fit to take the slightest notice either of this, or in 
deed of any of the other great and important truths which 
it has been the aim and labour of my whole life to set 
forth, in order to secure them as a lasting possession to 
mankind. It does not suit their tastes, or fit into their 
notions ; it leads to no Theology, nor is it even adapted to 
drill students for higher State purposes. In short, profes 
sional philosophers do not care to learn from me, nor do they 
even see how much they might learn from me : that is, all 
that their children and their children s children will learn 
from me. They prefer to sit down and spin a long meta 
physical yarn, each out of his own thoughts, for the benefit 
of the public; and no doubt, if fingers are a sufficient 
qualification, they have it. How right was Macchiavelli 
when he said, as Hesiod 1 before him : " There are three 
sorts of heads : firstly, those which acquire knowledge of 
things and comprehend them by themselves ; secondly, 
those which recognise the truth when it is shown them by 
others ; and thirdly, those which can do neither the one 
nor the other." 2 

One must indeed be forsaken by all the gods, to imagine 
that the outer, perceptible world, filling Space in its three 
dimensions and moving on in the inexorable flow of Time, 
governed at every step by the laws of Causality, which is 
without exception, and in all this merely obeying laws we 
can indicate before all experience of them that such a 
world as this, we say, can have a real, objective existence 
outside us, without any agency of our own, and that it can 
then have found its way into our heads through bare sen 
sation and thus have a second existence within us like the 
one outside. For what a miserably poor thing is mere 
sensation, after all ! Even in the noblest of our organs it 
is nothing but a local, specific feeling, susceptible of some 

1 Hesiod, epya, 293. 

8 Macchiavelli, " II principe," cap. 22. 


slight variation, still in itself always subjective and, as 
such therefore, incapable of containing anything objective, 
anything like perception. For sensation is and remains a 
process within the organism and is limited, as such, to the 
region within the skin ; it cannot therefore contain any 
thing which lies beyond that region, or, in other words, 
anything that is outside us. A sensation may be pleasant 
Or unpleasant which betokens a relation to the Will 
but -nothing objective can ever lie in any sensation* In 
the organs of the senses, sensation is heightened by the con 
fluence of the nerve-extremities, and can easily be excited 
from without on account of their extensive distribution 
and the delicacy of the envelope which encloses them ; it is 
besides specially susceptible to particular influences, such 
as light, sound, smell ; notwithstanding which it is and re 
mains mere sensation, like all others within our body, 
consequently something essentially subjective, of whose 
changesWe only become immediately conscious in the form 
Of the inner sense, Time : that is, successively. It is only 
when the Understanding begins to act a function, not of 
single, delicate nerve-extremities, but of that mysterious, 
complicated structure weighing from five to ten pounds, 
called the brain only when it begins to apply its sole form, 
the causal law, that a powerful transformation takes place, 
by which subjective sensation becomes objective perception. Ir 
For, in virtue of its own peculiar form, therefore a priori, 
i.e. before all experience (since there could have been none 
till then), the Understanding conceives the given corporeal 
sensation as an effect (a word which the Understanding 
alone comprehends), which effect, as such, necessarily 
implies a cause. Simultaneously it summons to its assis 
tance Space, the form of the outer sense, lying likewise 
ready in the intellect (i.e. the brain), in order to remove 
that cause beyond the organism ; for it is by this that the 
external world first arises, Space alone rendering it pos- 


sible, so that pure intuition a priori has to supply the 
foundation for empirical perception. In this process, as 
I shall soon show more clearly, the Understanding avails 
itself of all the several data, even the minutest, which are 
presented to it by the given sensation, in order to construct 
the cause of it in Space in conformity with them. This intel 
lectual operation (which is moreover explicitly denied both 
by Schelling * and by Fries 2 ), does not however take place 
discursively or reflectively, in abstracto, by means of concep 
tions and words ; it is, on the contrary, an intuitive and 
quite direct process. For by it alone, therefore exclusively 
in the Understanding and for the Understanding, does 
the real, objective, corporeal world, filling Space in its 
three dimensions, present itself and further proceed, ac 
cording to the same law of causality, to change in Time, 
and to move in Space. It is therefore the Understanding 
itself which has to create the objective world; for this 
world cannot walk into our brain from outside all ready 
cut and dried through the senses and the openings of their 
organs. | In fact, the senses supply nothing but the raw 
materials which the Understanding at once proceeds to 
work up into the objective view of a corporeal world, sub 
ject to regular laws, by means of the simple forms we have 
indicated : Space, Time, and Causality. \ Accordingly our 
every-day empirical perception is an intellectual one and has 
a right to claim this predicate, which German pseudo-philo 
sophers have given to a pretended intuition of dream-worlds, 
in which their beloved Absolute is supposed to perform its 
evolutions. And now I will proceed to show how wide is 
the gulf which separates sensation from perception, by 
pointing out how raw is the material out of which the 
beautiful edifice is constructed. 

1 Schelling, " Philosophische Schriften" (1809), vol.i. pp.237 and 238. 

2 Fries, " Kritik der VernunfL" vol. i. pp. 52-56 and p. 290 of the 1st 


Objective perception makes use, properly speaking, of 
only two senses ; touch and sight. These alone supply the 
data upon which, as its basis, the Understanding constructs 
the objective world by the process just described. The 
three other senses remain on the whole subjective; for 
their sensations, while pointing to an external cause, still 
contain no data by which its relations in Space can be de 
termined. Now Space is the form of all perception, i.e. of 
that apprehension, in which alone objects can, properly 
speaking, present themselves. Therefore those other three 
senses can no doubt serve to announce the presence of 
objects we already know in some other way ; but no con 
struction in Space, consequently no objective perception, can 
possibly be founded on their data. A rose cannot be con 
structed from its perfume, and a blind man may hear 
music all his life without having the slightest objective 
representation either of the musicians, or of the instru 
ments, or of the vibrations of the air. On the other hand, the 
teense of hearing is of great value as a medium for language, 
and through this it is the sense of Reason. It is also valu 
able as a medium for music, which is the only way in 
which we comprehend numerical relations not only in 
abstracto, but directly, in concreto. A musical sound or 
tone, however, gives no clue to spacial relations, therefore 
it never helps to bring the nature of its cause nearer to us ; 
we stop short at it, so that it is no datum for the Under 
standing in its construction of the objective world. The 
sensations of touch and sight alone are such data ; there 
fore a blind man without either hands or feet, while able 
to construct Space for himself a priori in all its regularity, 
would nevertheless acquire but a very vague representation 
of the objective world. Yet what is supplied by touch and 
sight is not by any means perception, but merely the raw 
material for it, For perception is so far from being con 
tained in the sensations of touch and sight, that these sen- 


sations have not even the faintest resemblance to the 
qualities of the things which present themselves to us 
through them, as I shall presently show. Only /what 
really belongs to sensation must first be clearly distin 
guished from what is added to it by the intellect in per 
ception. I In the beginning this is not easy, because we are 
so accustomed to pass from the sensation at once to its 
cause, that the cause presents itself to us without our 
noticing the sensation apart from it, by which, as it were, 
the premisses are supplied to this conclusion drawn by 
i^ie Understanding. 

Thus touch and sight have each their own special advan 
tages, to begin with; therefore they assist each other 
mutually. Sight needs no contact, nor even proximity ; its 
field is unbounded and extends to the stars. It is more 
over sensitive to the most delicate degrees of light, shade, 
colour, and transparency ; so that it supplies the Under 
standing with a quantity of nicely defined data, out of 
which, by dint of practice, it becomes able to construct the 
shape, size, distance, and nature of bodies, and represents 
them at once perceptibly. On the other hand, touch cer 
tainly depends upon contact ; still its data are so varied 
and so trustworthy, that it is the most searching of all the 
senses. Even perception by sight may, in the last resort, 
be referred to touch ; nay, sight may be looked upon as 
an imperfect touch extending to a great distance, which 
uses the rays of light as long feelers ; and it is just because 
it is limited to those qualities which have light for their 
medium and is therefore one-sided, that it is so liable to 
deception ; whereas touch supplies the data for cognising 
size, shape, hardness, softness, roughness, temperature, 
&c. &c., quite immediately. In this it is assisted, partly 
by the shape and mobility of our arms, hands, and fingers, 
from whose position in feeling objects the Understanding 
derives its data for constructing bodies in Space, partly by 


muscular power, which enables it to know the weight, 
solidity, toughness, or brittleness of bodies : all this with 
the least possible liability to error. 

These data nevertheless do not by any means yet give 
perception, which is always the work of the Understanding, 
The sensation I have in pressing against a table with niy 
hand, contains no representation of a firm cohesion of parts 
in that object, nor indeed anything at all like it. It is 
only when my Understanding passes from that sensation 
to its cause, that the intellect constructs for itself a body 
having the properties of solidity, impenetrability, and hard 
ness. If in the dark, I put my hand upon a flat surface, 
or lay hold of a ball of about three inches in diameter, 
the same parts of my hand feel the pressure in both cases ; 
it is only by the different position which my hand takes 
that, in the one or in the other case, my Understanding 
constructs the shape of the body whose contact is the cause 
of the sensation, for which it receives confirmation from the 
changes of position which I make. The sensations in the 
hand of a man born blind, on feeling an object of cubic shape, 
are quite uniform and the same on all sides and in every 
direction : the edges, it is true, press upon a smaller portion 
of his hand, still nothing at all like a cube is contained in 
these sensations. His Understanding, however, draws the 
immediate and intuitive conclusion from the resistance 
felt, that this resistance must have a cause, which then 
presents itself through that conclusion as a hard body ; 
and through the movements of his arms in feeling the 
object, while the hand s sensation remains unaltered, he 
constructs the cubic shape in Space, which is known to 
him a priori. If the representation of a cause and of 
Space, together with their laws, had not already existed 
within him, the image of a cube could never have proceeded 
from those successive sensations in his hand. If a rope be 
drawn through his hand, he will construct, as the cause of 


the friction he feels and of its duration, a long cylindrical 
body, moving uniformly in the same direction in that 
particular position of his hand. But the representation of 
movement, i.e. of change of place in Space by means of 
Time, never could arise for him out of the mere sensation 
in his hand ; for that sensation can neither contain, nor 
can it ever by itself alone produce any such thing. It is his 
intellect which must, on the contrary, contain within itself, 
before all experience, the intuitions of Space, Time, and toge 
ther with them that of the possibility of movement ; and it 
must also contain the representation of Causality, in order to 
pass from sensation which alone is given by experience 
to a cause of that sensation, and to construct that cause as 
a body having this or that shape, moving in this or that 
direction. For how great is the difference between a mere 
sensation in my hand and the representations of causality, 
materiality, and mobility in Space by means of Time ! 
The sensation in my hand, even if its position and its 
points of contact are altered, is a thing far too uniform 
and far too poor in data, to enable me to construct out of 
it the representation of Space, with its three dimensions, 
and of the influences of bodies one upon another, together 
with the properties of expansion, impenetrability, cohe 
sion, shape, hardness, softness, rest, and motion: the 
basis, in short, of the objective world. This is, on the 
contrary, only possible by the intellect containing within 
itself, anterior to all experience, Space, as the form of per 
ception ; Time, as the form of change ; and the law of 
Causality, as the regulator of the passing in and out of 
changes. Now it is precisely the pre-existence before all 
experience of all these forms, which constitutes the Intellect. 
Physiologically, it is a function of the brain, which the 
brain no more learns by experience than the stomach to 
digest, or the liver to secrete bile. Besides, no other expla 
nation can be given of the fact, that many who were born 



blind, acquire a sufficiently complete knowledge of the rela 
tions of Space, to enable them to replace their want of eye 
sight by it to a considerable degree, and to perform astonish 
ing feats. A hundred years ago Saunderson, for instance, 
who was blind from his birth, lectured on Optics, Mathe 
matics, and Astronomy at Cambridge. 1 This, too, is the 
only way to explain the exactly opposite case of Eva Lauk, 
who was born without arms or legs, yet acquired an accurate 
perception of the outer world by means of sight alone as 
rapidly as other children. 2 All this therefore proves that 
Time, Space, and Causality are not conveyed into us by 
touch or by sight, or indeed at all from outside, but that 
they have an internal, consequently not empirical, but 
intellectual origin. From this again follows, that the per 
ception of the bodily world is an essentially intellectual 
process, a work of the Understanding, to which sensation 
merely gives the opportunity and the data for application 
in individual cases. 

I shall now prove the same with regard to the sense of 
sight. Here the only immediate datum is the sensation 
experienced by the retina, which, though admitting of great 
variety, may still be reduced to the impression of light and 
dark with their intermediate gradations and to that of 
colours proper. This sensation is entirely subjective: that 
is to say, it only exists within the organism and under the 
skin. Without the Understanding, indeed, we should never 
even become conscious of these gradations, excepting as of 
peculiar, varied modifications of the feeling in our eye, 
which would bear no resemblance to the shape, situation, 
proximity, or distance of objects outside us. For sensation, 
in seeing, supplies nothing more than a varied affection of 
the retina, exactly like the spectacle of a painter s palette 

1 Diderot, in his " Lettre sur les Aveugles," gives a detailed account 
of Saunderson. 

2 See " Die Welt a. W. u. V." vol. ii. chap. 4. 


with divers splashes of colour. Nor would anything more 
remain over in our consciousness, were we suddenly deprived 
of all our Understanding let us say by paralysis of the 
brain at a moment when we were contemplating a rich 
and extensive landscape, while the sensation was left un 
changed : for this was the raw material out of which our 
Understanding had just before been constructing that 

Now, that the Understanding should thus be able, from 
such limited material as light, shade and colour, to produce 
the visible world, inexhaustibly rich in all its different 
shapes, by means of the simple function of referring effects 
to causes assisted by the intuition of Space, depends before 
all things upon the assistance given by the sensation itself, 
which consists in this : first, that the retina, as a surface, 
admits of a juxtaposition of impressions ; secondly, that 
light always acts in straight lines, and that its refraction 
in the eye itself is rectilinear ; finally, that the retina pos 
sesses the faculty of immediately feeling from which 
direction the light comes that impinges upon it, and this 
can, perhaps, only be accounted for by the rays of light 
penetrating below the surface of the retina. But by this we 
gain, that the mere impression at once indicates the direction 
of its cause ; that is, it points directly to the position of 
the object from which the light proceeds or is reflected. 
The passage to this object as a cause no doubt presupposes 
the knowledge of causal relations, , as well as of the laws of 
Space ; but this knowledge constitutes precisely the furni 
ture of the Intellect, which, here also, has again to create 
perception out of mere sensation. Let us now examine its 
procedure in doing so more closely. 

The first thing it does is to set right the impression of 
the object, which is produced on the retina upside down. 
That original inversion is, as we know, brought about in 
the following manner. As each point of the visible object 


gends forth its rays towards all sides in a rectilinear direc 
tion, the rays from its upper extremity cross those from its 
lower extremity in the narrow aperture of the pupil, by 
which the former impinge upon the bottom, the latter 
upon the top, those projected from the right side upon the 
left, and vice versa. The refracting apparatus of the eye, 
which consists of the humor aqueus, lens, et corpus vitreum, 
only serves to concentrate the rays of light proceeding from 
the object, so as to find room for them on the small space 
of the retina. Now, if seeing consisted in mere sensation, 
we should perceive the impression of the object turned 
upside down, because we receive it thus ; but in that case 
we should perceive it as something within our eye, for we 
should stop short at the sensation. In reality, however, 
the Understanding steps in at once with its causal law, and 
as it has received from sensation the datum of the direc 
tion in which the ray impinged upon the retina, it pursues 
that direction retrogressively up to the cause on both 
lines ; so that this time the crossing takes place in the oppo 
site direction, and the cause presents itself upright as an 
external object in Space, i.e. in the position in which it 
originally sent forth its rays, not that in which they reached 

the retina (see fig. 1). The purely intellectual nature of 
this process, to the exclusion of all other, more especially of 
physiological, explanations, may also be confirmed by the 


fact, that if we put our heads "between our legs, or lie down 
on a hill head downwards, we nevertheless see objects in 
their right position, and not upside down ; although the 
portion of the retina which is usually met by the lower part 
of the object is then met by the upper : in fact, everything 
is topsy turvy excepting the Understanding. 

The second thing which the Understanding does in con 
verting sensation into perception, is to make a single per 
ception out of a double sensation ; for each eye in fact 
receives its own separate impression from the object we are 
looking at ; each even in a slightly different direction : 
nevertheless that object presents itself as a single one. 
This can only take place in the Understanding, and the 
process by which it is brought about is the following : Our 
eyes are never quite parallel, excepting when we look at a 
distant object, i.e. one which is more than 200 feet from 
us. At other times they are both directed towards the 
object we are viewing, whereby they converge, so as to 
make the lines proceeding from each eye to the exact point 
of the object on which it is fixed, form an angle, called the 
optic angle; the lines themselves are called optic axes. 
Now, when the object lies straight before us, these lines 
exactly impinge upon the centre of each retina, therefore 
in two points which correspond exactly to each other in 
each eye. The Understanding, whose only business it is 
to look for the cause of all things, at once recognises 
the impression as coming from a single outside point, 
although here the sensation is double, and attributes it to 
one cause, which therefore presents itself as a single 
object. For all that is perceived by us, is perceived as a 
cause that is to say, as the cause of an effect we have 
experienced, consequently in the Understanding. As, never 
theless, we take in not only a single point, but a consider 
able surface of the object with both eyes, and yet perceive 
it as a single object, it will be necessary to pursue this 



[CHAP, iv. 

explanation still further. All those parts of the object 
which lie to one side of the vertex of the optic angle no 
longer send their rays straight into the centre, but to the 
side, of the retina in each eye ; in both sides, however, to the 
same, let us say the left, side. The points therefore 
upon which these rays impinge, correspond symmetrically to 
each other, as well as the centres in other words, they are 

Fig. 2, 


homonymous points. The Understanding soon learns to 
know them, and accordingly extends the above-mentioned 
rule of its causal perception to them also ; consequently it 
not only refers those rays which impinge upon the centre 
of each retina, but those also which impinge upon all the 
other symmetrically corresponding places in both retinae, 
to a single radiant point in the object viewed : that is, it 
sees all these points likewise as single, and the entire 


object also. Now, it should be well observed, that in this 
process it is not the outer side of one retina which corre 
sponds to the outer side of the other, and the inner to the 
inner of each, but the right side of one retina which corre 
sponds to the right side of the other, and so forth ; so that 
this symmetrical correspondence must not be taken in a 
physiological, but in a geometrical sense. Numerous and 
very clear illustrations of this process, and of all the 
phenomena which are connected with it, are to be found in 
Robert Smith s "Optics," and partly also in Kastner s 
German translation (1755). I only give one (fig. 2), which, 
properly speaking, represents a special case, mentioned 
further on, but which may also serve to illustrate the 
whole, if we leave the point E out of question. Ac 
cording to this illustration, we invariably direct both eyes 
equally towards the object, in order that the symmetrically 
corresponding places on both retinas may catch the rays 
projected from the same points. Now, when we move our 
eyes upwards and downwards, to the sides, and in all 
directions, the point in the object which first impinged 
upon the central point of each retina, strikes a different 
place every time, but in all cases one which, in each eye, 
corresponds to the place bearing the same name in the 
other eye. In examining (perlustrare) an object, we let our 
eyes glide backwards and forwards over it, in order to 
bring each" point of it successively into contact with the 
centre of the retina, which sees most distinctly : we feel it 
all over with our eyes. It is therefore obvious that seeing 
singly with two eyes is in fact the same process as feeling 
a body with ten fingers, each of which receives a different 
impression, each moreover in a different direction: the 
totality of these impressions being nevertheless recognised 
by the Understanding as proceeding from one object, whose 
shape and size it accordingly apprehends and constructs in 
Space. This is why it is possible for a blind man to become 


a sculptor, as was the case, for instance, with the famous 
Joseph KLeinhaus, who died in Tyrol, 1853, having been a 
sculptor from his fifth year. 1 For, no matter from what 
cause it may have derived its data, perception is invariablv 
an operation of the Understanding. 

But just as a single ball seems to me double, if I touch 
it with my fingers crossed since my Understanding, at once 
reverting to the cause and constructing it according to the 
laws of Space, takes for granted that the fingers are in 
their normal position and of course cannot do otherwise 
than attribute two spherical surfaces, which come in contact 
with the outer sides of the first and middle fingers, to two 
different balls just so also does an object seem double, 
if my eyes, instead of converging symmetrically and en 
closing the optic angle at a single point of the object, each 
view it at a different inclination in other words, if I 
squint. For the rays, which in this case emanate from one 
point of the object, no longer impinge upon those symme 
trically corresponding points in both retinas with which my 
mind has grown familiar by long experience, but upon 
other, quite different ones which, in a symmetrical position 
of the eyes, could only be affected in this way by different 

1 The Frankfort " Konversationsblatt," July 22, 1853, gives the 
following account of this sculptor : " The blind sculptor, Joseph 
Kleinhaus, died at Nauders, in Tyrol, on the 10th inst. Having lost 
his eyesight through small-pox when he was five years old, he began to 
amuse himself with carving and modelling, as a pastime. Prugg gave 
him some instructions, and supplied him with models, and at the age of 
twelve he carved a Christ in life-size. During a short stay in Nissl a 
workshop at Fiigen, his progress was so rapid, that, thanks to his good 
capacities and talents, his fame as the blind sculptor soon spread far and 
wide. His works are numerous and of various kinds. His Chris ts 
alone, of which there are about four hundred, bear special witness to his 
proficiency, particularly if his blindness is taken into consideration. He 
sculptured many other objects besides, and, but two months ago, lie 
modelled a bust of the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria which has 
been sent to Vienna." 


bodies ; I therefore now see two objects, precisely because 
perception takes place by means of, and within, the Under 
standing. The same thing happens without squinting 
when, for instance, I look fixedly at the furthest of two 
objects placed at unequal distances before me, and com 
plete the optic angle at it ; for then the rays emanating 
from the nearer object do not impinge upon symmetrically 
corresponding places in both retinas, wherefore my Under 
standing attributes them to two objects, i.e. I see the 
nearer object double (see fig. 2, page 70). If, on the con 
trary, I complete the optic angle at the nearer object, by 
looking steadily at it, the further object appears double. It 
is easy to test this by holding a pencil two feet from the 
eyes, and looking alternately at it and at some other more 
distant object behind it. 

But the finest thing of all is, that this experiment may 
quite well be reversed: so that, with two real objects 
straight before and close to us, and with our eyes wide 
open, we nevertheless see but one. This is the most striking 
proof that perception is a work of the Understanding and 
by no means contained in sensation. Let two cardboard 
tubes, about 8 inches long and If inches in diameter, be 
fastened parallel to one another, like those of a binocular 
telescope, and fix a shilling at the end of each tube. On 
applying our eyes to the opposite extremity and looking 
through the tubes, we shall see only one shilling sur 
rounded by one tube. For in this case the eyes being forced 
into a completely parallel position, the rays emanating 
from the coins impinge exactly upon the centres of the two 
retinas and those points which immediately surround 
them, therefore upon places which correspond symmetri 
cally to each other; consequently the Understanding, 
taking for granted the usual convergent position of the 
optic axes when objects are near, admits but one object as 
the cause of the reflected rays. In other words, we see but 


one object ; so direct is the act of causal apprehension in 
the Understanding. 

We have not space enough here to refute one by one the 
physiological explanations of single vision which have been 
attempted; but their fallacy is shown by the following 
considerations : 

1. If seeing single were dependent upon an organic 
connection, the corresponding points in both retinas, on 
which this phenomenon is shown to depend, would corre 
spond organically, whereas they do so in a merely geo 
metrical sense, as has already been said. For, organically 
speaking, the two inner and two outer corners of the eyes 
are those which correspond, and so it is with the other 
parts also ; whereas for the purpose of single vision, it is 
the right side of the right retina which corresponds to the 
right side of the left retina, and so on, as the phenomena 
just described irrefutably show. It is also precisely on 
account of the intellectual character of the process, that 
only the most intelligent animals, such as the higher 
mammalia and birds of prey more especially owls have 
their eyes placed so as to enable them to direct both optic 
axes to the same point. 

2. The hypothesis of a confluence or partial intersection 
of the optic nerves before entering the brain, originated by 
Newton, 1 is false, simply because it would then be impos 
sible to see double by squinting. Vesalius and Caesal- 
pinus besides have already brought forward anatomical 
instances in which subjects saw single, although neither 
fusion nor even contact of the optic nerves had taken 
place. A final argument against the hypothesis of a mixed 
impression is supplied by the fact, that on closing our right 
eye firmly and looking at the sun with our left, the bright 
image which persists for a time is always in the left, never 
in the right, eye : and vice versa. 

1 Newton, " Optics." Query 15. 


The third process by which the Understanding converts 
sensation into perception, consists in constructing bodies 
out of the simple surfaces hitherto obtained that is, in 
adding the third dimension. This it does by estimating 
the expansion of bodies in this third dimension in Space 
which is known to the Understanding a priori through 
Causality, according to the degree in which the eye is 
affected by the objects, and to the gradations of light and 
shade. In fact, although objects fill Space in all three 
dimensions, they can only produce an impression upon the 
eye with two ; for the nature of that organ is such, that 
our sensation, in seeing, is merely plauimetrical, not stereo- 
metrical. All that is stereometrical in our perception is 
a/lded by the Understanding, which has for its sole data 
the direction whence the eye receives its impression, the 
limits of that impression, and the various gradations of light 
and dark: these data directly indicate their causes, and 
enable us to distinguish whether what we have before us 
is a disk or a ball. This mental process, like the preceding 
ones, takes place so immediately and with such rapidity, 
that we are conscious of nothing but the result. It is this 
which makes perspective drawing so difficult a problem, 
that it can only be solved by mathematics and has to be 
learnt ; although all it has to do, is to represent the sen 
sation of seeing as it presents itself to our Understanding 
as a datum for the third process : that is, visual sen 
sation in its merely planimetrical extension, to the two 
dimensions of which extension, together with the said data 
in them, the Understanding forthwith adds the third, in 
contemplating a drawing as well as in contemplating reality. 
Perspective drawing is, in fact, a sort of writing which can 
be read as easily as printed type, but which few are able to 
write ; precisely because our intellect, in perceiving, only 
apprehends effects with a view to constructing their causes, 
immediately losing sight of the former as soon as it has 


discovered the latter. For instance, we instantly recognise 
a chair, whatever position it may be in ; while drawing a 
chair in any position belongs to the art which abstracts 
from this third process of the Understanding, in order to pre 
sent the data alone for the spectator himself to complete. 
In its narrowest acceptation, as we have already seen, this is 
the art of drawing in perspective ; in a -more comprehensive 
sense, it is the whole art of painting. A painting presents 
us with outlines drawn according to the rules of perspec 
tive ; lighter and darker places proportioned to the effect 
of light and shade; finally patches of colouring, which 
are determined as to quality and intensity by the teaching 
of experience. This the spectator reads and interprets by 
referring similar effects to their accustomed causes. The 
painter s art consists in consciously retaining the data of 
visual sensation in the artist s memory, as they are before 
this third intellectual process ; while we, who are not artists, 
cast them aside without retaining them in our memory, 
as soon as we have made use of them for the purpose 
described above. We shall become still better acquainted 
with this third intellectual process by now passing on to a 
fourth, which, from its intimate connection with the third, 
serves to elucidate it. 

This fourth operation of the "Understanding consists in 
acquiring knowledge of the distance of objects from us : 
it is this precisely which constitutes that third dimension 
of which we have been speaking. Visual sensation, as we 
have said, gives us the direction in which objects lie, but 
not their distance from us : that is, not their position. It 
is for the Understanding therefore to find out this dis 
tance; or, in other words, the distance must be inferred 
from purely causal determinations. Now the most im 
portant of these is the visual angle, which objects subtend ; 
yet even this is quite ambiguous and unable to decide 
anything by itself. It is like a word of double meaning : 


the sense, in which it is to be understood, can only be 
gathered from its connection with the rest. An object 
subtending the same visual angle may in fact be small 
and near, or large and far off ; and it is only when we have 
previously ascertained its size, that the visual angle enables 
us to recognise its distance : and conversely, its size, when 
its distance is known to us. Linear perspective is based 
upon the fact that the visual angle diminishes as the dis 
tance increases, and its principles may here be easily de 
duced. As our sight ranges equally in all directions, we 
see everything in reality as from the interior of a hollow 
sphere, of which our eye occupies the centre. Now in the 
first place, an infinite number of intersecting circles pass 
through the centre of this sphere in all directions, and 
the angles measured by the divisions of these circles are 
the possible angles of vision. In the second place, the 
sphere itself modifies its size according to the length of 
radius we give to it ; therefore we may also imagine it as 
consisting of an infinity of concentric, transparent spheres. 
As all radii diverge, these concentric spheres augment in 
size in proportion to their distance from us, and the de 
grees of their sectional circles increase correspondingly: 
therefore the true size of the objects which occupy them 
likewise increases. Thus objects are larger or smaller ac 
cording to the size of the spheres of which they occupy 
similar portions say 10 while their visual angle re 
mains unchanged in both cases, leaving it therefore un 
decided, whether the 10 occupied by a given object belong 
to a sphere of 2 miles, or of 10 feet diameter. Conversely, 
if the size of the object has been ascertained, the number 
of degrees occupied by it will diminish in proportion to 
the distance and the size of the sphere to which we refer 
it, and all its outlines will contract in similar proportion. 
From this ensues the fundamental law of all perspective ; 
for, as objects and the intervals between them must ne- 


cessarily diminish in constant proportion to their distance 
from us, all their outlines thereby contracting, the result 
will be, that with increasing distance, what is above us 
will descend, what is below us will ascend, and all that 
lies at our sides will come nearer together. This pro 
gressive convergence, this linear perspective, no doubt 
enables us to estimate distances, so far as we have before 
us an uninterrupted succession of visibly connected objects ; 
but we are not able to do this by means of the visual 
angle alone, for here the help of another datum is required 
by the Understanding, to act, in a sense, as commentary 
to the visual angle, by indicating more precisely the share 
we are to attribute to distance in that angle. Now there 
are four principal data of this kind, which I am about to 
specify. Thanks to these data, even where there is no 
linear perspective to guide us, if a man standing at a dis 
tance of 200 feet appears to me subtending a visual angle 
twenty-four times smaller than if he were only 2 feet off, 
I can nevertheless in most cases estimate his size correctly. 
All this proves once more that perception is not only a thing 
of the senses, but of the intellect also. I will here add the 
following special and interesting fact in corroboration of 
what I have said about the basis of linear perspective as 
well as about the intellectual nature of all perception. 
When I have looked steadily at a coloured object with 
sharply denned outlines say a red cross long enough 
for the physiological image to form in my eye as a green 
cross, the further the surface on to which I project it, 
the larger it will appear to me : and vice versa. For the 
image itself occupies an unvarying portion of my retina, 
i.e. the portion originally affected by the red cross ; there 
fore when referred outwards, or, in other words, recognised 
as the effect of an external object, it forms an unchanging 
visual angle, say of 2. Now if, in this case, where all 
commentary to the visual angle is wanting, I remove it to 


a distant surface, with which I necessarily identify it as 
"belonging to its effect, the cross will occupy 2 of a distant 
and therefore larger sphere, and is consequently large. 
If, on the other hand, I project the image on to a nearer 
object, it will occupy 2 of a smaller sphere, and is 
therefore small. The resulting perception is in both cases 
completely objective, quite like that of an external object ; 
and as it proceeds from an entirely subjective reason 
(from the image having been excited in quite a different 
way), it thus confirms the intellectual character of all 
objective perception. This phenomenon (which I dis 
tinctly remember to have been the first to notice, in 
1815) forms the theme of an essay by Seguin, published in 
the " Comptes rendus " of the 2nd August, 1858, where it 
is served up as a new discovery, all sorts of absurd and 
distorted explanations of it being given. Messieurs les 
illustres confreres let pass no opportunity for heaping ex 
periment upon experiment, the more complicated the 
better. Experience! is their watchword; yet how rarely 
do we meet with any sound, genuine reflection upon the 
phenomena observed! Experience! experience! followed 
by twaddle. 

To return to the subsidiary data which act as com 
mentaries to a given visual angle, we find foremost among 
them the mutationes oculi internee, by means of which the 
eye adapts its refractory apparatus to various distances by 
increasing and diminishing the refraction. In what these 
modifications consist, has not yet been clearly ascertained. 
They have been sought in the increased convexity, now of 
the cornea, now of the crystalline lens; but the latest 
theory seems to me the most probable one, according to 
which the lens is moved backwards for distant vision and 
forwards for near vision, lateral pressure, in the latter 
case, giving it increased protuberance ; so that the process 
would exactly resemble the mechanism of an opera-glass. 


Kepler, however, had, in the main, already expressed this 
theory, which may be found explained in A. Hueck s 
pamphlet, "Die Bewegung der Krystallinse," 1841. If 
we are not clearly conscious of these inner modifications 
of the eye, we have at any rate a certain feeling of them, 
and of this we immediately avail ourselves to estimate 
distances. As however these modifications are not avail 
able for the purposes of clear sight beyond the range of 
from about 7 inches to 16 feet, the Understanding is only 
able to apply this datum within those limits. 

Beyond them, however, the second datum becomes avail 
able : that is to say, the optic angle, formed by the two 
optic axes, which we had occasion to explain when speaking 
of single vision. It is obvious that this optic angle be 
comes smaller, the further the object is removed : and vice 
versa. This different direction of the eyes, with respect to 
each other, does not take place without producing a slight 
sensation, of which we are nevertheless only in so far 
conscious as the Understanding makes use of it, as a 
datum, in estimating distances intuitively. By this datum 
we are not only enabled to cognize the distance, but the 
precise position of the object viewed, by means of the 
parallax of the eyes, which consists in each eye seeing the 
object in a slightly different direction ; so that if we close 
one eye, the object seems to move. Thus it is not easy to snuff 
a candle with one eye shut, because this datum is then 
wanting. But as the direction of the eyes becomes parallel 
as soon as the distance of the object reaches or exceeds 
200 feet, and as the optic angle consequently then ceases 
to exist, this datum only holds good within the said 

Beyond it, the Understanding has recourse to atmo 
spheric perspective, which indicates a greater distance by 
means of the increasing dimness of all colours, of the 
appearance of physical blue in front of all dark objects 


(according to Gothe s perfectly correct and true theory of 
colours), and also of the growing indistinctness of all out 
lines. In Italy, where the atmosphere is very transparent, , 
this datum loses its power and is apt to mislead : Tivoli, 
for instance, seems to be very near when seen from Frascati. 
On the other hand, all objects appear larger in a mist, 
which is an abnormal exaggeration of the datum ; be 
cause our Understanding assumes them to be further 
from us. 

Finally, there remains the estimation of distance by 
means of the size (known to us intuitively) of intervening 
objects, such as fields, woods, rivers, &c. &c. This mode 
of estimation is only applicable where there is uninter 
rupted succession : in other words, it can only be applied 
to terrestrial, not to celestial objects. Moreover, we have 
in general more practice in using it horizontally than ver 
tically: a ball on the top of a tower 200 feet high appears 
much smaller to us than when lying on the ground 200 
feet from us ; because, in the latter case, we estimate the 
distance more accurately. When we see human beings in 
such a way, that what lies between them and ourselves is 
in a great measure hidden from our sight, they always 
appear strikingly small. 

The fact that our Understanding assumes everything it 
perceives in a horizontal direction to be farther off, therefore 
larger, than what is seen in a vertical direction, must partly 
be attributed to this last mode of estimating distances, inas 
much as it only holds good when applied horizontally arid 
to terrestrial objects ; but partly also to our estimation of 
distances by atmospheric perspective, which is subject to 
similar conditions. This is why the moon seems so much 
larger on the horizon than at its zenith, although its visual 
angle accurately measured that is, the image projected by 
it on to the eye is not at all larger in one case than in the 
other ; and this also accounts for the flattened appearance of 


the vault of the sky : that is to say, for its appearing to have 
greater horizontal than vertical extension. Both pheno 
mena therefore are purely intellectual or cerebral, not optical. 
If it be objected, that even when at its zenith, the moon 
occasionally has a hazy appearance without seeming to be 
larger, we answer, that neither does it in that case appear 
red ; for its haziness proceeds from a greater density of 
vapours, and is therefore of a different kind from that 
which proceeds from atmospheric perspective. To this 
may be added what I have already said: that we only 
apply this mode of estimating distances in a horizontal, 
not in a perpendicular, direction ; besides, in this case, 
other correctives come into play. It is related of Saussure 
that, when on the Mont Blanc, he saw so enormous a 
moon rise, that, not recognising what it was, he fainted 
with terror. 

The properties of the telescope and magnifying glass, 
on the other hand, depend upon a separate estimate 
according to the visual angle alone : i.e., that of size 
by distance, and of distance by size; because here the 
four other supplementary means of estimating distances 
are excluded. The telescope in reality magnifies objects, 
while it only seems to bring them nearer ; because their 
size being known to us empirically, we here account for 
its apparent increase by a diminution of their distance 
from us. A house seen through a telescope, for instance, 
seems to be ten times nearer, not ten times larger, than 
seen with the naked eye. The magnifying glass, on the 
-contrary, does not really magnify, but merely enables 
us to bring the object nearer to our eyes than would 
otherwise be possible ; so that it only appears as large 
as it would at that distance even without the magnify 
ing glass. In fact, we are prevented from seeing objects 
distinctly at less than from eight to ten inches distance 
from our eyes, by the insufficient convexity of the ocular 


lens and cornea ; but if we increase the refraction by 
substituting the convexity of the magnifying glass for 
that of the lens and cornea, we then obtain a clear image 
of objects even when they are as near as half an inch from 
our eyes. Objects thus seen in close proximity to us and 
in the size corresponding to that proximity, are transferred 
by our Understanding to the distance at which we naturally 
see distinctly, i.e. to about eight or ten inches from our 
eyes, and we then estimate their magnitude according to 
this distance and to the given visual angle. 

I have entered thus fully into detail concerning all the 
different processes by which seeing is accomplished, in 
order to show clearly and irrefragably that the predomi 
nant factor in them is the Understanding, which, by con 
ceiving each change as an effect and referring that effect to 
its cause, produces the cerebral phenomenon of the objec 
tive world on the basis of the a priori fundamental intui 
tions of Space and Time, for which it receives merely a 
few data from the senses. And moreover the Understand 
ing effects this exclusively by means of its own peculiar 
form, the law of Causality; therefore quite directly and 
intuitively, without any assistance whatever from reflec 
tion that is, from abstract knowledge by means of concep 
tions and of language, which are the materials of secondary 
knowledge, i.e. of thought, therefore of Reason. 

That this knowledge through the Understanding is in 
dependent of Reason s assistance, is shown even by the 
fact, that when, at any time, the Understanding attributes 
a given effect to a wrong cause, actually perceiving that 
cause, whereby illusion arises, our Reason, however clearly 
it may recognise in abstracto the true state of the matter, 
is nevertheless unable to assist the Understanding, and 
the illusion persists undisturbed in spite of that better 
knowledge. The above-mentioned phenomena of seeing 
and feeling double, which result from an abnormal position 


of the organs of touch and sight, are instances of such 
illusions ; likewise the apparently increased size of the 
rising moon; the image which forms in the focus of a 
concave mirror and exactly resembles a solid body floating 
in space ; the painted relievo which we take for real ; the 
apparent motion of a shore or bridge on which we are 
standing, if a ship happens to pass along or beneath it ; the 
seeming proximity of very lofty mountains, owing to the 
absence of atmospheric perspective, which is the result of 
the purity of the air round their summits. In these and 
in a multitude of similar cases, our Understanding takes 
for granted the existence of the usual cause with which it is 
conversant and forthwith perceives it, though our Reason 
has arrived at the truth by a different road; for, the 
knowledge of the Understanding being anterior to that of 
the Eeason, the intellect remains inaccessible to the teaching 
of the Eeason, and thus the illusion that is, the deception of 
the Understanding remains immovable ; albeit error that 
is, the deception of the Eeason is obviated. That which 
is correctly known by the Understanding is reality : that 
which is correctly known by the Eeason is truth, or in other 
terms, a judgment having a sufficient reason; illusion 
(that which is wrongly perceived) we oppose to reality : 
error (that which is wrongly thought) to truth. 

The purely formal part of empirical perception that is, 
Space, Time, and the law of Causality is contained a 
priori in the intellect ; but this is not the case with the 
application of this formal part to empirical data, which has 
to be acquired by the Understanding through practice and 
experience. Therefore new-born infants, though they no 
doubt receive impressions of light and of colour, still do 
not apprehend or indeed, strictly speaking, see objects. 
The first weeks of their existence are rather passed in a 
kind of stupor, from which they awaken by degrees when 
tnair Understanding begins to apply its function to the 


data supplied by the senses, especially those of touch and 
of sight, whereby they gradually gain consciousness of the 
objective world. This newly-arising consciousness may be 
clearly recognised by the look of growing intelligence in 
their eyes and a degree of intention in their movements, 
especially in the smile with which they show for the first 
time recognition of those who take care of them. They 
may even be observed to make experiments for a time 
with their sight and touch, in order to complete their 
apprehension of objects by different lights, in different 
directions and at different distances: thus pursuing a 
silent, but serious course of study, till they have succeeded 
in mastering all the intellectual operations in seeing which 
have been described. The fact of this schooling can be 
ascertained still more clearly through those who, being 
born blind, have been operated upon late in life, since they 
are able to give an account of their impressions. Chesel- 
den s blind man 1 was not an isolated instance, and we 
find in all similar cases the fact corroborated, that 
those who obtain their sight late in life, no doubt, see 
light, outlines, and colours, as soon as the operation is 
over, but that they have no objective perception of objects 
until their Understanding has learnt to apply its causal 
law to data and to changes which are new to it. On first 
beholding his room and the various objects in it, Chesel- 
den s blind man did not distinguish one thing from 
another ; he simply received the general impression of a 
totality all in one piece, which he took for a smooth, 
variegated surface. It never occurred to him to recognise 
a number of detached objects, lying one behind the other 
at different distances. With blind people of this sort, it 
is by the sense of touch, to which objects are already 
known, that they have to be introduced to the sense of 

1 Sec the original report in vol. 35 of the " Philosophical Transac 
tions" as to this case. 


sight. In the beginning, the patient has no appreciation 
whatever of distances and tries to lay hold of everything. 
One, when he first saw his own house from outside, could 
not conceive how so small a thing could contain so many 
rooms. Another was highly delighted to find, some weeks 
after the operation, that the engravings hanging on the 
walls of his room represented a variety of objects. The 
" Morgenblatt" of October 23rd, 1817, contains an account 
of a youth who was born blind, and obtained his sight 
at the age of seventeen. He had to learn intelligent 
perception, for at first sight he did not even recognise 
objects previously known to him through the sense of 
touch. Every object had to be introduced to the sense of 
sight by means of the sense of touch. As for the distances 
of the objects he saw, he had no appreciation whatever of 
them, and tried to lay hold indiscriminately of everything, 
far or near. Franz expresses himself as follows : l 

" A definite idea of distance, as well as of form and size, is only ob 
tained by sight and touch, and by reflecting on the impressions made 
on both senses; but for this purpose we must take into account the 
muscular motion and voluntary locomotion of the individual. Caspar 
Ilauser, in a detailed account of his own experience in this respect, states, 
that upon his first liberation from confinement, whenever he looked through 
the window upon external objects, such as the street, garden, &c., it ap 
peared to him as if there were a shutter quite close to his eye, and covered 
with confused colours of all kinds, in which he could recognise or distin 
guish nothing singly. He says farther, that he did not convince himself till 
after some time during his walks out of doors, that what had at first 
appeared to him as a shutter of various colours, as well as many other 
objects, were in reality very different things; and that at length the 
shutter disappeared, and he saw and recognised all things in their just 
proportions. Persons born blind who obtain their sight by an opera 
tion in later years only, sometimes imagine that all objects touch their 
eves, and lie so near to them that they are afraid of stumbling againsfc 
them ; sometimes they leap towards the moon, supposing that they can 

1 Franz, " The Eye, a treatise on preserving this organ in a healthy 
state and improving the sight." London, Churchill, 1839, pp. 34-36. 


lay hold of it ; at other times they run after the clouds moving along 
the sky, in order to catch them, or commit other such extravagancies. 
Since ideas are gained by reflection upon sensation, it is further neces 
sary in all cases, in order that an accurate idea of objects may be 
formed from the sense of sight, that the powers of the mind should be 
unimpaired, and undisturbed in their exercise. A proof of this is 
afforded in the instance related by Haslam, 1 of a boy who had no 
defect of sight, but was weak in understanding, and who in his seventh 
year was unable to estimate the distances of objects, especially as to 
height ; he would extend his hand frequently towards a nail on the 
ceiling, or towards the moon, to catch it. It is therefore the judgment 
which corrects and makes clear this idea, or perception of visible 

The intellectual nature of perception as I have shown it, 
is corroborated physiologically by Flourens a as follows : 

" II faut faire line grand distinction entre les sens et 1 intelligence. 
L ablation d un tubercule determine la perte de la sensation, du sens de 
la vue; la retine devient insensible, 1 iris devient immobile. L ablation 
d un lobe cerebral laisse la sensation, le sens, la sensibility de la re tine, 
la mobility de 1 iris ; elle ne detruit que la perception seule. Dans un 
cas, c est un fait sensor ial ; et, dans 1 autre, un fait cerebral ; dans un 
cas, c est la perte du sens ; dans 1 autre, c est la perte de la perception. 
La distinction des perceptions et des sensations est encore un grand 
resultat ; et il est demontre aux yeux. II y a deux moyens de faire 
perdre la vision par 1 encephale : 1 par les tubercules, c est la perte du 
sens, de la sensation ; 2 par les lobes, c est la perte de la perception, de 
1 intelligence. La sensibilite n est done pas 1 intelligence; penser n est 
done pas sentir ; et voila toute une philosophic rcnversee. L ide"e n est 
done pas, la sensation ; et voila encore une autre preuve du vice radical 
de cette philosophic." And again, p. 77, under the heading: Separa 
tion de la Sensibility et de la Perception : " II y a une de mes exp6- 
rences qui separe nettement la sensibilite de la perception. Quand 
on enleve le cerveau proprement dit (lobes ou hemispheres cerebraux) a un 
animal, Panimal perd la vue. Mais, par rapport a I ceil, rien n est 
change : les objets continuent a se peindre sur la re tine ; Viris reste 
contractile, le nerf optique sensible, parfaitement sensible. Et cepeii- 

1 Haslam s "Observations on Madness and Melancholy," 2nd ed. 
p. 1921 

2 Flourens, "De la vie et de 1 Intelligence," 2nd edition, Paris, 
Gamier Freres, 1852, p. 49. 


dant 1 animal ne voit plus ; il n y a plus vision, quoique tout ce qui est 
sensation subsiste , il n y a plus vision, parce qu il n y a plus perception. 
Le percevoir, et non le sentir, est done le premier element de V intelli 
gence. La perception est partie de ^intelligence, car elle se perd avec 
Y intelligence, et par 1 ablation du meme organe, les lobes ou hemispheres 
certbraux ; et la sensibility n en est point partie, puisqu elle subsiste 
apres la perte de ^intelligence et 1 ablation des lobes ou hemispheres" 

The following famous verse of the ancient philosopher 
Epicharmus, proves that the ancients in general recog 
nized the intellectual nature of perception : Novc opij Kal 
VOVQ aKovti Ta\\a *cw^a /cat rv^Xa. (Mens videt, mens audit; 
ccetera surda et cceca.) l Plutarch in quoting this verse, 
adds : 2 w c TOV Trepl TO. u/^uarct KOI wra irddovg, av pt] Trapfj TO 
fypovovv, ai<rdri<Tiv ov TTOLOVVTO^ (guia affectio oculorum et 
aurium nullum affert sensum, intelligentia absents). Shortly 
before too he says : 27-parw^oc TOV fyvaiKoii \6yo^ lortV, aVo 
tieiKVvav WQ OV& aiffddvEvdai Toirapdirav avtv TOV voiiv virdp\et. 
(Stratonis pliysici exstat ratiocinatio, qua " sine intelligentia 
sentiri omnino nihil posse " demonstrat.) 3 Again shortly 
after he says : oOev aVay/CT?, Trdcriv, oTg TO aladdj e&dat, Kal 
TO votiv virajO^eiv, el TV voiiv aiaBdvtaQcu Tre^vKa^v (quars 
necesse est, omnia, quce sentiunt, etiam intelligere, siquidem 
intelligendo demum sentiamus)* A. second verse of Epi 
charmus might be connected with this, which is quoted 
by Diogenes Laertes (iii. 16) : 

Efymig, TO GOfyvV iGTIV OV KO.O tV /JLOVOV, 

dXX oaa ?rep % 

1 "It is the mind that sees and hears j all besides is deaf and 
blind." (Tr. Ad.) 

2 Plutarch, " De solert. animal." c. 3. " For the affection of our 
eyes and ears does not produce any perception, unless it be accompanied 
by thought." (Tr. Ad.) 

3 " Straton, the physicist, has proved that c without thinking it is 
quite impossible to perceive. " (Tr. Ad.) 

4 " Therefore it is necessary that all who perceive should also think, 
since we are so constituted as to perceive by means of thinking." 
(Tr. Ad.) 


(Eumaee, sapientia non uni tantum competit, sed qucecunque 
vivunt etiam intellectum Tiabent.) Porphyry likewise endea 
vours to show at length that all animals have under 
standing. 1 

Now, that it should be so, follows necessarily from the 
intellectual character of perception. / All animals, even 
down to the very lowest, must have Understanding that 
is, knowledge of the causal law, although they have it in 
very different degrees of delicacy and of clearness ; at any 
rate they must have as much of it as is required for percep 
tion by their senses ; for sensation without Understanding 
would be not only a useless, but a cruel gift of Nature.^ 
No one, who has himself any intelligence, can doubt the 
existence of it in the higher animals. But at times it even 
becomes undeniably evident that their knowledge of 
causality is actually a priori, and that it does not arise 
from the habit of seeing one thing follow upon another. A 
very young puppy will not, for instance, jump off a table, 
because he foresees what would be the consequence. Not 
long ago I had some large curtains put up at my bed 
room window, which reached down to the floor, and were 
drawn aside from the centre by means of a string. The 
first morning they were opened I was surprised to see my 
dog, a very intelligent poodle, standing quite perplexed, 
and looking upwards and sidewards for the cause of the 
phenomenon : that is, he was seeking for the change which 
he knew a priori must have taken place. Next day the 
same thing happened again. But even the lowest animals 
have perception consequently Understanding down to 
the aquatic polypus, which has no distinct organs of sensa 
tion, yet wanders from leaf to leaf on its waterplant, while 
clinging to it with its feelers, in search of more light. 

Nor is there, indeed, any difference, beyond that of 

1 Porph. "De abstinentia, - iii. 21. 


degree, between this lowest Understanding and that of 
man, which we however distinctly separate from his 
Reason. The intermediate gradations are occupied by the 
various series of animals, among which the highest, such 
as the monkey, the elephant, the dog, astonish us often by 
their intelligence. But in every case the business of the 
Understanding is invariably to apprehend directly causal 
relations : first, as we have seen, those between our own 
body and other bodies, whence proceeds objective percep 
tion; then those between these objectively perceived bodies 
among themselves, and here, as has been shown in 20, 
the causal relation manifests itself in three forms as 
cause, as stimulus, and as motive. All movement in the 
world takes place according to these three forms of the 
causal relation, and through them alone does the intellect 
comprehend it. Now, if, of these three, causes, in the nar 
rowest sense of the word, happen to be the object of inves- 
gation for the Understanding, it will produce Astronomy, 
Mechanics, Physics, Chemistry, and will invent machines 
for good and for evil ; but in all cases a direct, intuitive 
apprehension of the causal connection will in the last resort 
lie at the bottom of all its discoveries. For the sole form 
and function of the Understanding is this apprehension, and 
not by any means the complicated machinery of Kant s 
twelve Categories, the nullity of which I have proved. 
(All comprehension is a direct, consequently intuitive, 
apprehension of the causal connection ; although this has 
to be reduced at once to abstract conceptions in order to be 
fixed. To calculate therefore, is not to understand, and, 
in itself, calculation conveys no comprehension of things. 
Calculation deals exclusively with abstract conceptions of 
magnitudes, whose mutual relations it determines. By it 
we never attain the slightest comprehension of a physical 
process, for this requires intuitive comprehension of 
space-relations, by means of which causes take effect. 


Calculations have merely practical, not theoretical, value. 
It may even be said that where calculation begins, compre 
hension ceases ; for a brain occupied with numbers is, as 
long as it calculates, entirely estranged from the causal 
connection in physical processes, being engrossed in purely 
abstract, numerical conceptions. The result, however, only 
shows us how much, never what. " Ij experience et le 
calcul," those watchwords of French physicists, are not 
therefore by any means adequate [for thorough insight] .) 
If, again, stimuli are the guides of the Understanding, it 
will produce Physiology of Plants and Animals, Thera 
peutics, and Toxicology. Finally, if it devotes itself to 
the study of motives, the Understanding will use them, on 
the one hand, theoretically, to guide it in producing works 
on Morality, Jurisprudence, History, Politics, and even 
Dramatic and Epic Poetry; on the other hand, practically, 
either merely to train animals, or for the higher purpose of 
making human beings dance to its music, when once it has 
succeeded in discovering which particular wire has to be 
pulled in order to move each puppet at its pleasure. Now, 
with reference to the function which effects this, it is quite 
immaterial whether the intellect turns gravitation in 
geniously to account, and makes it serve its purpose by 
stepping in just at the right time, or whether it brings the 
collective or the individual propensities of men into play 
for its own ends. In its practical application we call the 
Understanding shrewdness or, when used to outwit others, 
cunning ; when its aims are very insignificant, it is called 
slyness and, if combined with injury to others, craftiness. 
In its purely theoretical application, we call it simply 
Understanding, the higher degrees of which are named 
acumen, sagacity, discernment, penetration, while its lower 
degrees are termed dulness, stupidity, silliness, &c. &c. 
These widely differing degrees of sharpness are innate, and 
cannot be acquired ; although, as I have already shown, 


even in the earliest stages of the application of the Under 
standing, i.e. in empirical perception, practice and know 
ledge of the material to which it is applied, are needed. 
Every simpleton has Reason give him the premisses, and 
he will draw the conclusion; whereas primary, con 
sequently intuitive, knowledge is supplied by the Under 
standing: herein lies the difference. The pith of every 
great discovery, of every plan having universal historical 
importance, is accordingly the product of a happy moment 
in which, by a favourable coincidence of outer and inner 
circumstances, some complicated causal series., some hidden 
causes of phenomena which had been seen thousands of 
times before, or some obscure, untrodden paths, suddenly 
reveal themselves to the intellect. 

By the preceding explanations of the processes in seeing 
and feeling, I have incontestably shown that jempirical per 
ception is essentially the work of the Understanding ,\ for 
which the material only is supplied by the senses in sensa 
tion and a poor material it is, on the whole ; so that] the 
Understanding is, in fact, the artist, while the senses are 
but the under- workmen who hand it the materials. \ But 
the process consists throughout in referring from given 
effects to their causes, which by this process are enabled to 
present themselves as objects in Space, j The very fact that 
we presuppose Causality in this process, proves precisely 
that this law must have been supplied by the Under 
standing itself ; for it could never have found its way into 
the intellect from outside. I It is indeed the first condition 
of all empirical perception ; but this again is the form in 
which all external experience presents itself to us;|how 
then can h s law of Causality be derived from experience, 
when it is itself essentially presupposed by experience ?-j-It 
was just because of the utter impossibility of this, and 
because Locke s philosophy had put an end to all a priority, 
that Hume denied the whole reality of the conception of 


Causality. He had besides already mentioned two false 
hypotheses in the seventh section of his "Inquiry concerning 
the Human Understanding," which recently have again been 
advanced : the one, that the effect of the will upon the 
members of our body; the other, that the resistance 
opposed to our pressure by outward objects, is the origin 
and prototype of the conception of Causality. Hume refutes 
both in his own way and according to his own order of 
ideas. I argue as follows, j There is no causal connection 
whatever between acts of the will and actions of the body ; 
on the contrary, both are immediately one and the same 
thing, only perceived in a double aspect that is, on the 
one hand, in our self-consciousness, or inner sense, as acts 
of the will; on the other, simultaneously in exterior, 
spacial brain-perception, as actions of the body. 1 ! The 
second hypothesis is false, first because, as I have already 
shown at length, a mere sensation of touch does not yet 
give any objective perception whatever, let alone the con 
ception of Causality, which never can arise from the feeling 
of an impeded muscular effort : besides impediments of this 
kind often occur without any external cause; secondly, 
because our pressing against an external object necessarily 
has a motive, and this already presupposes apprehension of 
that object, which again presupposes knowledge of Cau 
sality. But the only means of radically proving the con 
ception of Causality to be independent of all experience was 
by showing, as I have done, that the whole possibility of 
experience is conditioned by the conception of Causality. 
In 23 I intend to show that Kant s proof, propounded 
with a similar intent, is false. 

This is also the proper place for drawing attention to the 

1 Compare "Die Welt a. W. u. V." 3rd edition, vol. ii. p. 41. 
[The 3rd edition of " Die Welt a. W. u. V." contains at this place a 
supplement which is wanting in the 2nd edition, vol. ii. p. 38. Note bj 
the Editor of the 3rd edition.] 


fact, that Kant either did not clearly recognise in empirical 
perception the mediation of the causal law which law is 
known to us before all experience or that he intentionally 
evaded mentioning it, because it did not suit his purpose. In 
the " Critique of Pure Season," for instance, the relation be- 
tween causality and perception is not treated in the " Doc 
trine of Elements," but in the chapter on the " Paralogisms 
of Pure Reason," where one would hardly expect to find it ; 
moreover it appears in his " Critique of the Fourth Para 
logism of Transcendental Psychology," and only in the 
first edition. 1 The very fact that this place should have 
been assigned to it, shows that in considering this relation, 
he always had the transition from the phenomenon to the 
thing in itself exclusively in view, but not the genesis of per 
ception itself. Here accordingly he says that the existence 
of a real external object is not given directly in perception, 
but can be added to it in thought and thus inferred. 
In Kant s eyes, however, he who does this is a Transcen 
dental Realist, and consequently on a wrong road. For by 
his " outward object" Kant here means the thing in itself. 
The Transcendental Idealist, on the contrary, stops short 
at the perception of something empirically real that is, of 
something existing outside us in Space without needing 
the inference of a cause to give it reality. For perception, 
according to Kant, is quite directly accomplished without 
any assistance from the causal nexus, and consequently 
from the Understanding: he simply identifies perception 
with sensation. This we find confirmed in the passage 
which begins, " With reference to the reality of external 
objects, I need as little trust to inference," &c. &c. 2 and 
a^ain in the sentence commencing with " Now we may well 

1 Kant, " Krit. d. r. V." 1st edition, p. 367 sqq. (English transla 
tion by M. Miiller, p. 318 sqq.) 

2 Kant, " Krit. d. r. Vern." 1st edition, p, 371. (English translation, 
by M. Muller, p. 322.) 


admit," &c. &C. 1 It is quite clear from these passages that 
perception of external things in Space, according to Kant, 
precedes all application of the causal law, therefore that 
the causal law does not belong to perception as an element 
and condition of it : for him, mere sensation is identical 
with perception. Only in as far as we ask what may, in a 
transcendental sense, exist outside of us : that is, when we 
ask for the thing in itself, is Causality mentioned as con 
nected with perception. Moreover Kant admits the exis 
tence, nay, the mere possibility, of causality only in reflec 
tion : that is, in abstract, distinct knowledge by means of 
conceptions ; therefore he has no suspicion that its applica 
tion is anterior to all reflection, which is nevertheless evi 
dently the case, especially in empirical, sensuous perception 
which, as I have proved irrefragably in the preceding ana 
lysis, could never take place otherwise. Kant is therefore 
obliged to leave the genesis of empirical perception unex 
plained. With him it is a mere matter of the senses, given 
as it were in a miraculous way : that is, it coincides with 
sensation. I should very much like my reflective readers 
to refer to the passages I have indicated in Kant s work, in 
order to convince themselves of the far greater accuracy of 
my view of the whole process and connection. Kant s ex 
tremely erroneous view has held its ground till now in 
philosophical literature, simply because no one ventured to 
attack it ; therefore I have found it necessary to clear the 
way in order to throw light upon the mechanism of our 

Kant s fundamental idealistic position loses nothing 
whatever, nay, it even gains by this rectification of mine, 
in as far as, with me, the necessity of the causal law is 
absorbed and extinguished in empirical perception as its 
product and cannot therefore be invoked in behalf of an 

1 Kant, " Krit. d. r. Vern." 1st edition, p. 372. (English transla 
tion, p. 323.) 


entirely transcendent question as to the thing in itself. 
On referring to my theory above concerning empirical per 
ception, we find that its first datum, sensation, is absolutely 
subjective, being a process within the organism, because it 
takes place beneath the skin. Locke has completely and 
exhaustively proved, that the feelings of our senses, even 
admitting them to be roused by external causes, cannot 
have any resemblance whatever to the qualities of those 
causes. Sugar, for instance, bears no resemblance at all to 
sweetness, nor a rose to redness. But that they should 
need an external cause at all, is based upon a law whose 
origin lies demonstrably within us, in our brain ; therefore 
this necessity is not less subjective than the sensations 
themselves. Nay, even Time that primary condition 
of every possible change, therefore also of the change 
which first permits the application of the causal law and 
not less Space which alone renders the externalisation 
of causes possible, after which they present themselves 
to us as objects even Time and Space, we say, are sub 
jective forms of the intellect, as Kant has conclusively 
proved. Accordingly we find all the elements of em 
pirical perception lying within us, and nothing contained 
in them which can give us reliable indications as to any 
thing differing absolutely from ourselves, anything in 
itself. But this is not all. What we think under the con 
ception matter, is the residue which remains over after 
bodies have been divested of their shape and of all their 
specific qualities : a residue, which precisely on that account 
must be identical in all bodies. Now these shapes and 
qualities which have been abstracted by us, are nothing 
but the peculiar, specially defined way in which these bodies 
act, which constitutes precisely their difference. If there 
fore we leave these shapes and qualities out of considera 
tion, there remains nothing but mere activity in general, 
pure action as such, Causality itself, objectively thought 


I that is, the reflection of our own Understanding, the exter- 
I nalised image of its sole function ; and Matter is throughout 
I pure Causality, its essence is Action in general. 1 This is 
S why pure Matter cannot be perceived, but can only be 
I thought : it is a something we add to every reality, as its 
S basis, in thinking it. For pure Causality, mere action, with- 
|| out any denned mode of action, cannot become perceptible, 
S therefore it cannot come within any experience. Thus 
| Matter is only the objective correlate to pure Understand- 
I ing ; for it is Causality in general, and nothing else : just as 
I the Understanding itself is direct knowledge of cause and 
t effect, and nothing else. Now this again is precisely why 
B the law of causality is not applicable to Matter itself : that 
is to say, Matter has neither beginning nor end, but is and 
remains permanent. For as, on the one hand, Causality is 
the indispensable condition of all alternation in the acci 
dents (forms and qualities) of Matter, i.e. of all passage in 
and out of being ; but as, on the other hand, Matter is 
pure Causality itself, as such, objectively viewed : it is un 
able to exercise its own power upon itself, just as the eye 
can see everything but itself. " Substance " and Mattel 
being moreover identical, we may call Substance, action 
viewed in abstracto : Accidents, particular modes of action, 
action in concreto. Now these are the results to which true, 
i.e. transcendental, Idealism leads. In my chief work I have 
shown that the thing in itself i.e. whatever, on the whole, 
exists independently of our representation cannot be got 
at by way of representation, but that, to reach it, we must 
follow quite a different path, leading through the inside of 
things, which lets us into the citadel, as it were, by 

But it would be downright chicanery, nothing else, to 

1 Compare " Die Welt a. W. u. V." 2nd edition ; vol. i. sect. 4, p. 9 ; 
and vol. ii. pp. 48, 49 (3rd edition, vol. i. p. 10; vol. ii. p. 52). English 
translation, vol. i. pp. 9-10 j vol. ii. p. 218. 



try and compare, let alone identify, such an honest, deep, 
thorough analysis of empirical perception as the one I have 
just given, which proves all the elements of perception to 
be subjective, with Fichte s algebraic equations of the Ego 
and the Non-Ego ; with his sophistical pseudo-demonstra 
tions, which in order to be able to deceive his readers had 
to be clothed in the obscure, not to say absurd, language 
adopted by him ; with his explanations of the way in which 
the Ego spins the Non-Ego out of itself ; in short, with all 
the buffoonery of scientific emptiness. 1 Besides, I protest 
altogether against any community with this Fichte, as Kant 
publicly and emphatically did in a notice ad hoc in the 
" Jenaer Litteratur Zeitung." Hegelians and similar 
ignoramuses may continue to hold forth to their heart s 
content upon Kant-Fichteian philosophy : there exists a 
Kantian philosophy and a Fichteian hocus-pocus, this is 
the true state of the case, and will remain so, in spite of those 
who delight in extolling what is bad and in decrying what 
is good, and of these Germany possesses a larger number 
than any other country. 

. 22. Of the Immediate Object. 

Thus it is from the sensations of our body that we 
receive the data for the very first application of the causal 
law, and it is precisely by that application that the percep 
tion of this class of objects arises. They therefore have 
their essence and existence solely in virtue of the intel 
lectual function thus coming into play, and of its 

1 Wissenschaftsleere (literally, emptiness of science}, a pun of Schopen 
hauer s on the title of Fichte s Wissenschaftslehre (doctrine of science), 
which cannot be rendered in English. (Tr. s Note.) 

2 Kant, "Erklarung iiber Fichte s Wissenschaftslehre." See the 
" Intelligenzblatt " of the Jena Literary Gazette (1799), No. 109. 


Now, as far as it is the starting-point, i.e. the mediator, 
for our perception of all other objects, I have called the 
bodily organism, in the first edition of the present work, 
the Immediate Object; this, however, must not be taken 
in a strictly literal sense. For although our bodily sensa 
tions are all apprehended directly, still this immediate 
apprehension does not yet make our body itself perceptible 
to us as an object ; on the contrary, up to this point all 
remains subjective, that is to say, sensation. From this 
sensation certainly proceeds the perception of all other 
objects as the causes of such sensations, and these causes 
then present themselves to us as objects ; but it is not so 
with the body itself, which only supplies sensations to 
consciousness. It is only indirectly that we know even 
this body objectively, i.e. as an object, by its presenting 
itself, like all other objects, as the recognised cause of a 
subjectively given effect and precisely on this account 
objectively in our Understanding, or brain (which is the 
same). Now this can only take place when its own senses 
are acted upon by its parts : for instance, when the body is 
seen by the eye, or felt by the hand, &c., upon which data 
the brain (or understanding) forthwith constructs it as to 
shape and quality in space. The immediate presence in 
our consciousness of representations belonging to this 
class, depends therefore upon the position assigned to them 
in the causal chain by which all things are connected 
relatively to the body (for the time being) of the Subject 
by which (the Subject) all things are known. 

.23. Arguments against Kant s Proof of the a priority of 
the conception of Causality. 

One of the chief objects of the " Critique of Pure 
Beason" is to show the universal validity, for all expe 
rience, of the causal law, its a priority, and, as a necessary 


consequence of this, its restriction to possible experience, 
Nevertheless, I cannot assent to the proof there given of 
the a priority of the principle, which is substantially 
this : " The synthesis of the manifold by the imagina 
tion, which is necessary for all empirical knowledge, 
gives succession, but not yet determinate succession : 
that is, it leaves undetermined which of two states per 
ceived was the first, not only in my imagination, but in the 
object itself. But definite order in this succession 
through which alone what we perceive becomes experience, 
or, in other words, authorizes us to form objectively valid 
judgments is first brought into it by the purely intel 
lectual conception of cause and effect. Thus the principle 
of causal relation is the condition which renders experience 
possible, and, as such, it is given us a priori" l 

According to this, the order in which changes succeed 
each other in real objects becomes known to us as objec 
tive only by their causality. This assertion Kant repeats 
and explains in the " Critique of Pure Reason," especially 
in his " Second Analogy of Experience," 2 and again at the 
conclusion of his " Third Analogy," and I request every 
one who desires to understand what I am now about to 
say, to read these passages. In them he affirms every 
where that the objectivity of the succession of representa- 
tions which he defines as their correspondence with the 
succession of real objects is only known through the 
rule by which they follow upon one another: that is, 
through the law of causality ; that my mere apprehension 
consequently leaves the objective relation between phe 
nomena following one another quite undetennined : since 

1 Kant, " Krit. d. r. Vern." 1st edition, p. 201 ; 5th edition, p, 246. 
(English translation by M. Miiller, p. 176.) This is, however, not a 
literal quotation. (Tr. s note. ) 

2 Ibid. p. 189 of the 1st edition; more fully, p. 232 of the 5th 
edition. (English translation by M. Miiller, p. 166.) 


I merely apprehend the succession of my own representa 
tions, but the succession in my apprehension does not 
authorize me to form any judgment whatever as to the 
succession in the object, unless that judgment be based 
upon causality ; and since, besides, I might invert the order 
in which these perceptions follow each other in my appre 
hension, there being nothing which determines them as 
objective. To illustrate this assertion, Kant brings forward 
the instance of a house, whose parts we may consider in any 
order we like, from top to bottom, or from bottom to top ; 
the determination of succession being in this case purely 
subjective and not founded upon an object, because it 
depends upon our pleasure. In opposition to this instance, 
he brings forward the perception of a ship sailing down a 
river, which we see successively lower and lower down the 
stream, which perception of the successively varying posi 
tions of the ship cannot be changed by the looker-on. In 
this latter case, therefore, he derives the subjective follow 
ing in his own apprehension from the objective following 
in the phenomenon, and on this account he calls it an 
event. Now I maintain, on the contrary, that there is no 
difference at all between these two cases, that both are events, 
and that our knowledge of both is objective : that is to say, 
it is knowledge of changes in real objects recognized as 
such by the Subject. Both are changes of relative position 
in two bodies. In the first case, one of these bodies is a 
part of the observer s own organism, the eye, and the other 
is the house, with respect to the different parts of which 
the eye successively alters its position. In the second, it 
is the ship which alters its position towards the stream ; 
therefore the change occurs between two bodies. Both are 
events, the only difference being that, in the first, the 
change has its starting-point in the observer s own body, 
from whose sensations undoubtedly all his perceptions 
originally proceed, but which is nevertheless an object 


among objects, and in consequence obeys the laws of the 
objective, material world. For the observer, as a purely 
cognising individual, any movement of his body is simply 
an empirically perceived fact. It would be just as pos 
sible in the second as in the first instance, to invert the 
order of succession in the change, were it as easy for the 
observer to move the ship up the stream as to alter the 
direction of his own eyes. For Kant infers the successive 
perception of different parts of the house to be neither 
objective nor an event, because it depends upon his own 
will. But the movement of his eyes in the direction from 
roof to basement is one event, and in the direction from 
basement to roof another event, just as much as the sailing 
of the ship. There is no difference whatever here, nor is 
there any difference either, as to their being or not being 
events, between my passing a troop of soldiers and their 
passing me. If we fix our eyes on a ship sailing close by 
the shore on which we are standing, it soon seems as if it 
were the ship that stood still and the shore that moved. 
Now, in this instance we are mistaken, it is true, as to the 
cause of the relative change of position, since we attribute 
it to a wrong cause ; the real succession in the relative 
positions of our body towards the ship is nevertheless quite 
rightly and objectively recognised by us. Even Kant him 
self would not have believed that there was any difference, 
had he borne in mind that his own body was an object 
among objects, and that the succession in his empirical 
perceptions depended upon the succession of the impres 
sions received from other objects by his body, and was 
therefore an objective succession : that is to say, one which 
takes place among objects directly (if not indirectly) and 
independently of the will of the Subject, and which may 
therefore be quite well recognised without any causal 
connection between the objects acting successively on liis 



Kant says, Time cannot be perceived ; therefore no suc 
cession of representations can be empirically perceived as 
objective : i.e. can be distinguished as changes in pheno 
mena from the changes of mere subjective representations. 
The causal law, being a rule according to which states 
follow one another, is the only means by which the ob 
jectivity of a change can be known. Now, the result of 
his assertion would be, that no succession in Time could 
be perceived by us as objective, excepting that of cause 
and effect, and that every other succession of phenomena 
we perceive, would only be determined so, and not other 
wise, by our own will. In contradiction to all this I must 
adduce the fact, that it is quite possible for phenomena to 
follow upon one another without following from one another. 
Nor is the law of causality by any means prejudiced by 
this ; for it remains certain that each change is the effect 
of another change, this being firmly established a priori ; 
only each change not only follows upon the single one 
which is its cause, but upon all the other changes which 
occur simultaneously with that cause, and with which that 
cause stands in no causal connection whatever. It is not 
perceived by me exactly in the regular order of causal 
succession, but in quite a different order, which is, how 
ever, no less objective on that account, and which differs 
widely from any subjective succession depending on my 
caprice, such as, for instance, the pictures of my imagina 
tion. The succession, in Time, of events which stand in 
no causal connection with each other is precisely what we 
call contingency. 1 Just as I am leaving my house, a tile 
happens to fall from the roof which strikes me ; now, there 
is no causal connection whatever between my going out and 

1 In German Zufall, a word derived from the Zusammenfallen (falling 
together), Zusammentreffen (meeting together), or coinciding of what is 
unconnected, just as TO avpfitfiriKos from avufiaiveiv. (Compare Aris 
totle, " Anal, post.," i. 4.) 


the falling of the tile ; yet the order of their succession 
that is, that my going out preceded the falling of the tile 
is objectively determined in my apprehension, not sub 
jectively by my will, by which that order would otherwise 
have most likely been inverted. The order in which tones 
follow each other in a musical composition is likewise 
objectively determined, not subjectively by me, the lis 
tener ; yet who would think of asserting that musical 
tones follow one another according to the law of cause and 
effect ? Even the succession of day and night is un 
doubtedly known to us as an objective one, but we as 
certainly do not look upon them as causes and effects of 
one another ; and as to their common cause, the whole 
world was in error till Copernicus came ; yet the correct 
knowledge of their succession was not in the least dis 
turbed by that error. Hume s hypothesis, by the wa} 
also finds its refutation through this ; since the following 
of day and night upon each other the most ancient of 
all successions and the one least liable to exception has 
never yet misled anyone into taking them for cause and 
effect of each other. 

Elsewhere Kant asserts, that a representation only shows 
reality (which, I conclude, means that it is distinguished 
from a mere mental image) by our recognising its necessary 
connection with other representations subject to rule (the 
causal law) and its place in a determined order of the 
time-relations of our representations. But of how few 
representations are we able to know the place assigned to 
them by the law of causality in the chain of causes and 
effects ! Yet we are never embarrassed to distinguish ob 
jective from subjective representations : real, from imagi 
nary objects. When asleep, we are unable to make tliia 
distinction, for our brain is then isolated from the peri- 
pherical nervous system, and thereby from external in 
fluences. In our dreams therefore, we take imaginary for 


real things, and it is only when we awaken : that is, when 
our nervous sensibility, and through this the outer world, 
once more comes within our consciousness, that we become 
aware of our mistake ; still, even in our dreams, so long 
as they last, the causal law holds good, only an impossible 
material is often substituted for the usual one. We might 
almost think that Kant was influenced by Leibnitz in 
writing the passage we have quoted, however much he 
differs from him in all the rest of his philosophy ; espe 
cially if we consider that Leibnitz expresses precisely 
similar views, when, for instance, he says : " La verite des 
choses sensibles ne consiste qu.e dans la liaison des pheno- 
rnenes, qui doit avoir sa raison, et c est ce qui les distingue 

des songes. Le vrai Criterion, en matiere des 

objets des sens, est la liaison des phenomenes, qui garantit 
les verites de fait, a 1 cgard des choses sensibles hors de 
nous." 1 

It is clear that in proving the a priority and the ne 
cessity of the causal law by the fact that the objective 
succession of changes is known to us only by means of 
that law, and that, in so far, causality is a condition for 
all experience, Kant fell into a very singular error, and 
one which is indeed so palpable, that the only way we can 
account for it is, by supposing him to have become so 
absorbed in the a priori part of our knowledge, that he 
lost sight of what would have been evident to anyone else. 
The only correct demonstration of the a priority of the 
causal law is given by me in 21 of the present work. 
That a priority finds its confirmation every moment in the 
infallible security with which we expect experience to tally 
with the causal law : that is to say, in the apodeictic cer 
tainty we ascribe to it, a certainty which differs from 
every other founded on induction the certainty, for in- 

1 Leibnitz, " Nonveaux Essais sur PEntendement," lib. iv. ch. ii. 
sect. 14. 


stance, of empirically known laws of Nature in that we 
can conceive no exception to the causal law anywhere 
within the world of experience. We can, for instance, 
conceive that in an exceptional case the law of gravitation 
might cease to act, but not that this could happen without 
a cause. 

Kant and Hume have fallen into opposite errors in their 
proofs. Hume asserts that all consequence is mere se 
quence ; whereas Kant affirms that all sequence must ne 
cessarily be consequence. Pure Understanding, it is true, 
can only conceive consequence (causal result), and is no 
more able to conceive mere sequence than to conceive the 
difference between right and left, which, like sequence, is 
only to be grasped by means of pure Sensibility. Empirical 
knowledge of the following of events in Time is, indeed, 
just as possible as empirical knowledge of juxtaposition of 
things in Space (this Kant denies elsewhere), but the way 
in which things follow upon one another in general in Time 
can no more be explained, than the way in which one thing 
follows from another (as the effect of a cause) : the former 
knowledge is given and conditioned by pure Sensibility ; 
the latter, by pure Understanding. But in asserting that 
knowledge of the objective succession of phenomena can 
only be attained by means of the causal law, Kant commits 
the same error with which he reproaches Leibnitz : * that 
of " iiitellectualising the forms of Sensibility." My view 
of succession is the following one. We derive our know 
ledge of the bare possibility of succession from the form 
of Time, which belongs to pure Sensibility. The suc 
cession of real objects, whose form is precisely Time, 
we know empirically, consequently as actual. But it is 
through the Understanding alone, by means of Causality, 
that we gain knowledge of the necessity of a succession of 

1 Kant, " Kritik d. r. Vern." 1st edition, p. 275 j 5th edition, p. 331. 
(English translation by M. Miiller, p. 236.) 


two states : that is, of a change ; and even the fact that we 
are able to conceive the necessity of a succession at all, 
proves already that the causal law is not known to us 
empirically, but given us a priori. The Principle of Suffi 
cient Reason is the general expression for the fundamental 
form of the necessary connection between all our objects, 
i.e. representations, which lies in the innermost depths of 
our cognitive faculty : it is the form common to all repre 
sentations, and the only source of the conception of ne 
cessity, which contains absolutely nothing else in it and no 
other import, than that of the following of the consequence, 
when its reason has been established. Now, the reason 
why this principle determines the order of succession in 
Time in the class of representations we are now investi 
gating, in which it figures as the law of causality, is, that 
Time is the form of these representations, therefore the 
necessary connection appears here as the rule of succession. 
In other forms of the principle of sufficient reason, the 
necessary connection it always demands will appear under 
quite different forms from that of Time, therefore not as 
succession ; still it always retains the character of a neces 
sary connection, by which the identity of the principle 
under all its forms, or rather the unity of the root of all 
the laws of which that principle is the common expression, 
reveals itself. 

If Kant s assertion were correct, which I dispute, our 
only way of knowing the reality of succession would be 
through its necessity; but this would presuppose an 
Understanding that embraced all the series of causes and 
effects at once, consequently an omniscient Understand 
ing. Kant has burdened the Understanding with an 
impossibility, merely in order to have less need of 

How can we reconcile Kant s assertion that our onlv 
means of knowing the objective reality of succession is by 


the necessity with which effect follows cause, with his 
other assertion l that succession in Time is our only empi 
rical criterion for determining which of two states is 
cause, and which effect. Who does not see the most 
obvious circle here ? 

If we knew objectiveness of succession through Causality, 
we should never be able to think it otherwise than as 
Causality, and then it would be nothing else than Causality. 
Fc r, if it were anything else, it would have other distinc 
tive signs by which to be recognised ; now this is just 
what Kant denies. Accordingly, if Kant were right, we 
could not say : " This state is the effect of that one, where 
fore it follows it ; " for following and being an effect, 
would be one and the same thing, and this proposition a 
tautology. Besides, if we do away with all distinction 
between following upon and following from, we once more 
yield the point to Hume, who declared all consequence to 
be mere sequence and therefore denied that distinction 

Kant s proof would, consequently, be reduced to this : 
that, empirically, we only know actuality of succession ; 
but as besides we recognise necessity of succession in 
certain series of occurrences, and even know before all 
experience that every possible occurrence must have a 
fixed place in some one of these series, the reality and the 
a priority of the causal law follow as a matter of course, 
the only correct proof of the latter being the one I have 
given in 21 of this work. 

Parallel with the Kantian theory : that the causal nexus 
alone renders objective succession and our knowledge of it 
possible, there runs another : that coexistence and our 
knowledge of it are only possible through reciprocity. In 
the " Critique of Pure Reason " they are presented under 

1 Kant, " Krit. d. r. Vern." vol. i. p. 203 of the 1st edition ; p. 249 of 
the 5th edition. (English translation by M. Miiller, p. 178.) 


the title : " Third Analogy of Experience." Here Kant 
goes so far as to say that " the co-existence of phenomena, 
which exercise no reciprocal action on one another, but are 
separated by a perfectly empty space, could never become 
an object of possible perception " 1 (which, by the way, 
would be a proof a priori that there is no empty space 
between the fixed stars), and that " the light which plays 
between our eyes and celestial bodies" an expression 
conveying surreptitiously the thought, that this starlight 
not only acts upon our eyes, but is acted upon by them 
also " produces an intercommunity between us and them, 
and proves the co-existence of the latter." Now, even 
empirically, this last assertion is false ; since the sight of a 
fixed star by no means proves its coexistence simul 
taneously with its spectator, but, at most, its existence 
some years, nay even some centuries before. Besides, this 
second Kantian theory stands and falls with the first, 
only it is far more easily detected ; and the nullity of 
the whole conception of reciprocity has been shown in 

The arguments I have brought forward against Kant s 
proof may be compared with two previous attacks made on 
it by Feder, 2 and by G-. E. Schulze. 3 

Not without considerable hesitation did I thus venture 
(in 1813) to attack a theory which had been universally 
received as a demonstrated truth, is repeated even now in the 
latest publications, 4 and forms a chief point in the doctrine 
of one for whose profound wisdom I have the greatest 
reverence and admiration ; one to whom, indeed, I owe so 

1 Kant, " Krit. d. r. Vern." pp. 212 and 213 of the 1st edition. (Eng- 
lish translation, pp. 185 and 186.) 

2 Feder, " Ueber Raum und Causalitat." sect. 29. 

3 G. E. Schulze, " Kritik der theoretischen Philosophie," vol. ii. 
p. 422 sqq. 

4 For instance, in Fries " Kritik der Vernunft," yol. ii. p. 85. 


much, that his spirit might truly say to me, in the words 
of Homer : 

Ax\vv d av TOI O.TT 6<}>9a\p,&v e Xov, ?} Trplv tirfjtv. 1 

24. Of the Misapplication of the Law of Causality. 

From the foregoing exposition it follows, that the appli 
cation of the causal law to anything but changes in the 
material, empirically given world, is an abuse of it. For 
instance, it is a misapplication to make use of it with refe 
rence to physical forces, without which no changes could 
take place ; or to Matter, on which they take place ; or to 
the world, to which we must in that case attribute an 
absolutely objective existence independently of our in 
tellect ; indeed in many other cases besides. I refer the 
reader to what I have said on this subject in my chief 
work. 2 Such misapplications always arise, partly, through 
our taking the conception of cause, like many other meta 
physical and ethical conceptions, in far too wide a sense ; 
partly, through our forgetting that the causal law is cer 
tainly a presupposition which we bring with us into the 
world, by which the perception of things outside us becomes 
possible; but that, just on that account, we are not 
authorized in extending beyond the range and indepen 
dently of our cognitive faculty a principle, which has its 
origin in the equipment of that faculty, nor in assuming it 
to hold good as the everlasting order of the universe and 
of all that exists. 

1 I lifted from thine eyes the darkness which covered them before. 
(Tr. s Ad.) 

* " Die Welt a. W. u. V." 2nd edition, vol. ii. ch. iv. p, 42 et seqq. ; 
3rd edition, vol. ii. p. 46 et 


25. The Time in which a Change takes place. 

As the Principle of Sufficient Reason of Becoming is 
exclusively applicable to changes, we must not omit to 
mention here, that the ancient philosophers had already 
raised the question as to the time in which a change takes 
place, there being no possibility of it taking place during 
the existence of the preceding state nor after the new 
one has supervened. Yet, if we assign a special time to it 
between both states, a body would, during this time, be 
neither in the first nor in the second state : a dying man, 
for instance, would be neither alive nor dead; a body 
neither at rest nor in movement : which would be absurd. 
The scruples and sophistic subtleties which this question 
has evoked, may be found collected together in Sextus 
Empiricus " Adv. Mathem." lib. ix. 267-271, and " Hypat." 
iii. c. 14 ; the subject is likewise dealt with by Gellius, 1. 
vi. c. 13 Plato 1 had disposed somewhat cavalierly of this 
knotty point, by maintaining that changes take place 
suddenly and occupy no time at all ; they occur, he says, 
in the Qaifyvrjc, (in repentino), which he calls an UTOTTOQ 
tyvffic, kv \povo) ovcev ovaa ; a strange, timeless existence 
(which nevertheless comes within Time). 

It was accordingly reserved for the perspicacity of Aris 
totle to clear up this difficult point, which he has done 
profoundly and exhaustively in the sixth Book of Physics, 
chap, i.-viii. His proof that no change takes place sud 
denly (in Plato s efaityvrjo) , but that each occurs only 
gradually and therefore occupies a certain time, is based 
entirely upon the pure, a priori intuition of Time and of 
Space ; but it is also very subtle. The pith of this very 
lengthy demonstration may, however, be reduced to the 
following propositions. When we say of objects that they 

1 Plato, " Parmenicles," p. 138, ed. Bip. 


limit each other, we mean, that both have their extreme 
ends in common ; therefore only two extended things can 
be conterminous, never two indivisible ones, for then they 
would be one i.e. only lines, but not mere points, can be 
conterminous. He then transfers this from Space to Time. 
As there always remains a line between two points, so there 
always remains a time between two nows ; this is the time 
in which a change takes place i.e. when one state is in the 
first, and another in the second, now. This time, like every 
other, is divisible to infinity; consequently, whatever is 
changing passes through an infinite number of degrees 
within that time, through which the second state gradually 
grows out of that first one. The process may perhaps be 
made more intelligible by the following explanation. Be 
tween two consecutive states the difference of which is 
perceptible to our senses, there are always several inter 
mediate states, the difference between which is not per 
ceptible to us ; because, in order to be sensuously per 
ceptible, the newly arising state must have reached a 
certain degree of intensity or of magnitude : it is therefore 
preceded by degrees of lesser intensity or extension, in 
passing through which it gradually arises. Taken collec 
tively, these are comprised under the name of change, 
and the time occupied by them is called the time of change. 
Now, if we apply this to a body being propelled, the first 
effect is a certain vibration of its inner parts, which, after 
communicating the impulse to other parts, breaks out into 
external motion. Aristotle infers quite rightly from the 
infinite divisibility of Time, that everything which fills it, 
therefore every change, i.e. every passage from one state to 
another, must likewise be susceptible of endless subdivision, 
so that all that arises, does so in fact by the concourse of 
an infinite multitude of parts ; accordingly its genesis is 
always gradual, never sudden. From these principles and 
the consequent gradual arising of each movement, he 


draws the weighty inference in the last chapter of this 
Book, that nothing indivisible, no mere point can move. 
And with this conclusion Kant s definition of Matter, as 
" that which moves in Space," completely harmonizes. 

This law of the continuity and gradual taking place of all 
changes which Aristotle was thus the first to lay down 
and prove, we find stated three times by Kant: in his 
" Dissertatio de mundi sensibilis et intelligibilis forma," 
14, in the " Critique of Pure Eeason," } and finally in 
his "Metaphysical First Principles of Natural Science." 2 In 
all three places his exposition is brief, but also less thorough 
than that of Aristotle ; still, in the main, both entirely 
agree. We can therefore hardly doubt that, directly or 
indirectly, Kant must have derived these ideas from Aris 
totle, though he does not mention him. Aristotle s pro 
position OVK ttrrt a\\rj\a)v i^o/ueva ra vvv (" the moment:? 
of the present are not continuous") we here find expressed 
as follows : " between two moments there is always a 
time," to which may be objected that " even between two 
centuries there is none ; because in Time as in Space, there 
must always be a pure limit." Thus Kant, instead of men 
tioning Aristotle, endeavours in the first and earliest of his 
three statements to identify the theory he is advancing 
with Leibnitz lex continuitatis. If they really were the 
same, Leibnitz must have derived his from Aristotle. Now 
Leibnitz 3 first stated this Loi de la continuite in a letter to 
Bayle. 1 There, however, he calls it Principe de Vordrz 
general, and gives under this name a very general, vague, 
chiefly geometrical argumentation, having no direct bearing 
on the time of change, which he does not even mention. 

1 Kant, <c Krit. d. r. Vern." 1st edition, p. 207 ; 5th edition, p. 253. 
(English translation by M. Miiller, p. 182.) 

2 Kant, " Metaphysischc Anfangsgriinde der Naturwissenschaft. 
End of the " Allgemeine Anmerkung zur Mechanik." 

3 According to his own assertion, p. 189 of the " Opera philos." eel. 
Erdmann. 4 Ibid. p. 10^ 




26. Explanation of this Class of Objects. 

THE only essential distinction between the human raco 
and animals, which from time immemorial has been 
attributed to a special cognitive faculty peculiar to man 
kind, called Reason, is based upon the fact that man owns 
a class of representations which is not shared by any 
animal. These are conceptions, therefore abstract, as opposed 
to intuitive, representations, from which they are neverthe 
less derived. The immediate consequence of this is, that 
animals can neither speak nor laugh; but indirectly ail 
those various, important characteristics which distinguish 
human from animal life are its consequence. For, through 
the supervention of abstract representation, motivation has 
now changed its character. Although human actions result 
with a necessity no less rigorous than that which rules the 
actions of animals, yet through this new kind of motiva 
tion so far as here it consists in thoughts which render 
elective decision (i.e. a conscious conflict of motives) pos 
sible action with a purpose, with reflection, according to 
plans and principles, in concert with others, &c. &c., now 
takes the place of mere impulse given by present, perceptible 
objects ; but by this it gives rise to all that renders human 
life so rich, so artificial, and so terrible, that man, in this 


Western Hemisphere, where Ms skin lias become bleached, 
and where the primitive, true, profound religions of his 
first home could not follow him, now no longer recognises 
animals as his brethren, and falsely believes them to 
differ fundamentally from him, seeking to confirm this 
illusion by calling them brutes, giving degrading names to 
the vital functions which they have in common with him, 
and proclaiming them outlaws ; and thus he hardens his 
heart against that identity of being between them and 
himself, which is nevertheless constantly obtruding itself 
upon him. 

Still, as we have said, the whole difference lies in this 
that, besides the intuitive representations examined in the 
last chapter, which are shared by animals, other, abstract 
representations derived from these intuitive ones, are lodged 
in the human brain, which is chiefly on this account so 
much larger than that of animals. Representations of this 
sort have been called conceptions, 1 because each compre 
hends innumerable individual things in, or rather under, 
itself, and thus forms a complex. 2 We may also defmo 
them as representations drawn from representations, For, in 
forming them, the faculty of abstraction decomposes the 
complete, intuitive representations described in our last 
chapter into their component parts, in order to think each 
of these parts separately as the different qualities of, or 
relations between, things. By this process, however, the 
representations necessarily forfeit their perceptibility ; just 
as water, when decomposed, ceases to be fluid and visible. 
For although each quality thus isolated (abstracted) can 
quite well be thought by itself, it does not at all follow that; 
itcanbe^ercei-yecZbyitself. We form conceptions by dropping 
a good deal of what is given us in perception, in order to be 

1 Begriff, comprehensive thought, derived from begreifen, to compre 
hend. [Tr.] 

2 Inbegriffy comprehensive totality. [Tr.] 


able to think the rest by itself. To conceive therefore, is 
to think less than we perceive. If, after considering divers 
objects of perception, we drop something different belong 
ing to each, yet retain what is the same in all, the result 
will be the genus of that species. The generic conception 
is accordingly always the conception of every species 
comprised under it, after deducting all that does not 
belong to every species. Now, as every possible concep 
tion may be thought as a genus, a conception is always 
something general, and as such, not perceptible. Every 
conception has on this account also its sphere, as the sum- 
total l of what may be thought under it. The higher we 
ascend in abstract thought, the more we deduct, the less 
therefore remains to be thought. The highest, i.e. the 
most general conceptions, are the emptiest and poorest, and 
at last become mere husks, such as, for instance, being, 
essence, thing, becoming, &c. &c. Of what avail, by the 
way, can philosophical systems be, which are only spun out 
of conceptions of this sort and have for their substance 
mere flimsy husks of thoughts like these ? They must of 
necessity be exceedingly empty, poor, and therefore also 
dreadfully tiresome. 

Now as representations, thus sublimated and analysed 
to form abstract conceptions, have, as we have said, forfeited 
all perceptibility, they would entirely escape our conscious 
ness, and be of no avail to it for the thinking processes to 
which they are destined, were they not fixed and retained 
in our senses by arbitrary signs. These signs are words. 
In as far as they constitute the contents of dictionaries 
and therefore of language, words always designate general 
representations, conceptions, never perceptible objects ; 
whereas a lexicon which enumerates individual things, only 
contains proper names, not words, and is either a geo- 

1 Inbegriff. 


graphical or historical dictionary : that is to say, it enume 
rates what is separated either by Time or by Space ; for, 
as my readers know, Time and Space are the principium 
individuationis. It is only because animals are limited to 
intuitive representations and incapable of any abstraction 
incapable therefore of forming conceptions that they are 
without language, even when they are able to articulate 
words ; whereas they understand proper names. That it 
is this same defect which excludes them from laughter, I 
have shown in my theory of the ridiculous. 1 

On analyzing a long, continuous speech made by a man 
of no education, we find in it an abundance of logical forms, 
clauses, turns of phrase, distinctions, and subtleties of all 
sorts, correctly expressed by means of grammatical forms 
with their inflections and constructions, and even with a 
frequent use of the sermo obliquus, of the different moods, 
&c. &c., all in conformity with rule, which astonishes us, 
and in which we are forced to recognise an extensive and 
perfectly coherent knowledge. Still this knowledge has been 
acquired on the basis of the perceptible world, the reduction 
of whose whole essence to abstract conceptions is the funda 
mental business of the Reason, and can only take place by 
means of language. In learning the use of language there 
fore, the whole mechanism of Reason that is, all that 
is essential in Logic is brought to our consciousness. Now 
this can evidently not take place without considerable 
mental effort and fixed attention, for which the desire to 
learn gives children the requisite strength. So long as 
that desire has before it what is really available and neces 
sary, it is vigorous, and it only appears weak when we try 
to force upon children that which is not suited to their 
comprehension. Thus even a coarsely educated child, in 
learning all the turns and subtleties of language, as well 

1 See "Die Welt a, W. u. V." vol. i. sect. 13, and vol. ii. ch. 8. 


through its own conversation as that of others, accomplishes 
the development of its Reason, and acquires that really 
concrete Logic, which consists less in logical rules than in 
the proper application of them ; just as the rules of 
harmony are learnt by persons of musical talent simply by 
playing the piano, without reading music or studying 
thorough-bass. The deaf and dumb alone are excluded 
from the above-mentioned logical training through the 
acquirement of speech ; therefore they are almost as un 
reasonable as animals, when they have not been taught to 
read by the very artificial means specially adapted for their 
requirements, which takes the place of the natural schooling 
of Reason. 

27. The Utility of Conceptions. 

The fundamental essence of our Reason or thinking 
faculty is, as we have seen, the power of abstraction, or the 
faculty of forming conceptions : it is therefore the presence 
of these in our consciousness which produces such amazing 
results. That it should be able to do this, rests mainly on 
the following grounds. 

It is just because they contain less than the representa 
tions from which they are drawn, that conceptions aro 
easier to deal with than representations ; they are, in fact, 
to these almost as the formula of higher arithmetic to the 
mental operations which give rise to them and which they 
represent, or as a logarithm to its number. They only 
contain just the part required of the many representations 
from which they are drawn; if instead we were to try 
to recall those representations themselves by means of 
the imagination, we should, as it were, have to lug about 
a load of unessential lumber, which would only embarrass 
us ; whereas, by the help of conceptions, we are enabled 
to think only those parts and relations of all these repre- 


sentations which are wanted for each individual purpose : 
so that their employment may be compared to doing 
away with superfluous luggage, or to working with extracts 
instead of plants themselves with quinine, instead of 
bark. What is properly called thinking, in its narrowest 
sense, is the occupation of the intellect with conceptions : 
that is, the presence in our consciousness of the class of 
representations we now have before us. This is also what we 
call reflection : a word which, by a figure of speech borrowed 
from Optics, expresses at once the derivative and the 
secondary character of this kind of knowledge. Now it is 
this thinking, this reflection, which gives man that delibera 
tion, which is wanting in animals. For, by enabling him 
to think many things under one conception, but always 
only the essential part in each of them, it allows him to 
drop at his pleasure every kind of distinction, consequently 
even those of Time and of Space, and thus he acquires the 
power of embracing in thought, not only the past and the 
future, but also what is absent ; while animals are in 
every respect strictly bound to the present. This delibera 
tive faculty again is really the root of all those theoretical 
and practical achievements which give man so great a 
superiority over animals; first and foremost, of his care 
for the future while taking the past into consideration; 
then of his premeditated, systematic, methodical procedure 
in all undertakings, and therefore of the co-operation of 
many persons towards a common end, and, by this, of law, 
order, the State, &c. &c. But it is especially in Science 
that the use of conceptions is important; for they are, pro 
perly speaking, its materials. The aims of all the sciences 
may, indeed, in the last resort, be reduced to knowledge of 
the particular through the general; now this is only 
possible by means of the dictum de omni et nullo, and this, 
again, is only possible through the existence of conceptions. 
Aristotle therefore says: civev ptv yap ruv KaQoXov OVK lanv 


ETTKrn/juijv \afie~iv l (absque universalibus enim non datur 
scientia). Conceptions are precisely those universalia, 
whose mode of existence formed the argument of the long 
controversy between the Eealists and Nominalists in the 

28. Representatives of Conceptions. The Faculty of 

Conceptions must not be confounded with pictures of 
the imagination, these being intuitive and complete, there 
fore individual representations, although they are not 
called forth by sensuous impressions and do not there 
fore belong to the complex of experience. Even when 
used to represent a conception, a picture of the imagination 
(phantasm) ought to be distinguished from a conception. 
We use phantasms as representatives of conceptions when 
we try to grasp the intuitive representation itself that has 
given rise to the conception and to make it tally with 
that conception, which is in all cases impossible ; for 
there is no representation, for instance, of dog in general, 
colour in general, triangle in general, number in general, 
nor is there any picture of the imagination which corre 
sponds to these conceptions. Then we evoke the phantasm 
of some dog or other, which, as a representation, must in 
all cases be determined : that is, it must have a certain 
size, shape, colour, &c. &c. ; even though the conception 
represented by it has no such determinations. When we 
use such representatives of conceptions however, we arc 
always conscious that they are not adequate to the concep 
tions they represent, and that they are full of arbitrary 
determinations. Towards the end of the first part of his 

1 Aristot. <c Metaph/ xii. c. 9, " For without universal^ it is impos 
sible to have knowledge." (Tr. s Add.) 


Twelfth Essay on Human Understanding, Hume expresses 
himself in agreement with this view, as also Rousseau in 
his "Discours sur I Origine de 1 Inegalite." * Kant s doc 
trine, on the contrary, is a totally different one. The 
matter is one which introspection and clear reflection can 
alone decide. Each of us must therefore examine himself 
as to whether he is conscious in his own conceptions of a 
" Monogram of Pure Imagination a priori ; " whether, for 
instance, when he thinks dog, he is conscious of something 
entre chien et loup ; or whether, as I have here explained 
it, he is either thinking an abstract conception through his 
Reason, or representing some representative of that con 
ception as a complete picture through his imagination. 

All thinking, in a wider sense : that is, all inner activity 
of the mind in general, necessitates either words or pic 
tures of the imagination : without one or other of these it 
has nothing to hold by. They are not, however, both ne 
cessary at the same time, although they may co-operate to 
their mutual support. Now, thinking in a narrower sense 
that is, abstract reflection by means of words is either 
purely logical reasoning, in which case it keeps strictly to 
its own sphere ; or it touches upon the limits of perceptible 
representations in order to come to an understanding with 
them, so as to bring that which is given by experience and 
grasped by perception into connection with abstract con 
ceptions resulting from clear reflection, and thus to gain 
complete possession of it. In thinking therefore, we seek 
either for the conception or rule to which a given percep 
tion belongs, or for the particular case which proves a 
given conception or rule. In this quality, thinking is an 
activity of the faculty of judgment, and indeed in the first 
case, a reflective, in the second, a subsuming activity. The 
faculty of judgment is accordingly the mediator between 
intuitive and abstract knowledge, or between the Under- 
1 Part the First, in the middle. 


derstanding and the Eeason. In most men it has merely 
rudimentary, often even merely nominal existence ; l they 
are destined to follow the lead of others, and it is as well 
not to converse with them more than is necessary. 

The true kernel of all knowledge is that reflection which 
works with the help of intuitive representations ; for it 
goes back to the fountain-head, to the basis of all concep 
tions. Therefore it generates all really original thoughts, 
all primary and fundamental views and all inventions, so 
far as chance had not the largest share in them. The 
Understanding prevails in this sort of thinking, whilst the 
Reason is the chief factor in purely abstract reflection. 
Certain thoughts which wander about for a long time in our 
heads, belong to this sort of reflection : thoughts which 
come and go, now clothed in one kind of intuition, now in 
another, until they at last become clear, fix themselves in 
conceptions and find words to express them. Some, in 
deed, never find words to express them, and these are, 
unfortunately, the best of all : quce voce meliora sunt, as 
Apuleius says. 

Aristotle, however, went too far in thinking that no 
reflection is possible without pictures of the imagina 
tion. Nevertheless, what he says on this point, 2 ov^Vore 
voti avev ^avraoy^aroc >/ ^X^ (. an ^ na sine phantasmate nun- 
quam intelligif), 3 and VTO.V Oewpri, avayKr) apa tydvraafjia. TI 
Oeupelv (qui contemplatur, necesse est, una cum phantasmate 
contempletur),* and again, voliv OVK eon avev ^avraa^aroQ 
(fieri non potest, ut sine phantasmate quidquam intelli- 

1 Let any one to whom this assertion may appear hyperbolical, con 
sider the fate of Gothe s " Theory of Colours " (Farbenlehre), and 
should he wonder at my finding a corroboration for it in that fate, he 
will himself have corroborated it a second time. 

2 Aristot. " De anima," iii. c. c. 3, 7, 8. 

3 " The mind never thinks without (the aid of) an image." [Tr.] 

4 "He who observes anything must observe some image along 
with it." [Tr.] 


gatur), 1 made a strong impression upon the thinkers of the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, who therefore frequently 
and emphatically repeat what he says. Pico della Mirandola, 3 
for instance, says : Necesse est, eum, quiratiocinaturetintelligit, 
pJiantasmata speculari; Melanchthon 3 says : Oportet intel- 
ligentem phantasmata speculari; and Jord. Brunus 4 says, 
dicit Aristoteles: oportet scire volentem, phantasmata speculari. 
Poniponatius 5 expresses himself in the same sense. On 
the whole, all that can be affirmed is, that every true and 
primary notion, every genuine philosophic theorem even, 
must have some sort of intuitive view for its innermost 
kernel or root. This, though something momentary 6 and 
single, subsequently imparts life and spirit to the whole 
analysis, however exhaustive it may be, just as one drop 
of the right reagent suffices to tinge a whole solution 
with the colour of the precipitate which it causes. When 
an analysis has a kernel of this sort, it is like a bank note 
issued by a firm which has ready money wherewith to back 
it ; whereas every other analysis proceeding from mere 
combinations of abstract conceptions, resembles a bank 
note which is issued by a firm which has nothing but other 
paper obligations to back it with. All mere rational talk 
thus renders the result of given conceptions clearer, but 
does not, strictly speaking, bring anything new to light. 
It might therefore be left to each individual to do himself, 
instead of filling whole volumes every day. 

29. Principle of Sufficient Reason of Knowing. 

But, even in a narrower sense, thinking does not consist 
in the bare presence of abstract conceptions in our con- 

1 " De Memoria," c. 1 : " It is impossible to think without (the aid 
of) an image." 2 < De imaginatione," c. 5. 

8 " De anima," p. 130. 4 ts De compositione imaginum," p. 10. 

6 " De immortalitate," pp. 54 et 70. 
8 " Ein Momentancs mid Einheitliches." 


sciousness, but rather in connecting or separating two or 
more of these conceptions under sundry restrictions and 
modifications which Logic indicates in the Theory of Judg 
ments. A relation of this sort between conceptions dis 
tinctly thought and expressed we call a judgment. Now, 
with reference to these judgments, the Principle of Suffi 
cient Reason here once more holds good, yet in a widely 
different form from that which has been explained in the 
preceding chapter ; for here it appears as the Principle of 
Sufficient Reason of Knowing, prindpium rationis suf- 
ficientis cognoscendi. As such, it asserts that if a judgment 
is to express knowledge of any kind, it must have a suffi 
cient reason : in virtue of which quality it then receives the 
predicate true. Thus truth is the reference of a judgment 
to something different from itself, called its reason or 
ground, which reason, as we shall presently see, itself 
admits of a considerable variety of kinds. As, however, 
this reason is invariably a something upon which the 
judgment rests, the German term for it, viz., Grund, is not 
ill chosen. In Latin, and in all languages of Latin origin, 
the word by which a reason of knowledge is designated, is 
the same as that used for the faculty of Reason (ratio- 
cinatio) : both are called ratio, la ragione, la razon, la raison, 
the reason. From this it is evident, that attaining know 
ledge of the reasons of judgments had been recognised as 
Reason s highest function, its business /car ifrxfiv. Now, 
these grounds upon which a judgment may rest, may be 
divided into four different kinds, and the truth obtained 
by that judgment will correspondingly differ. They are 
stated in the following paragraph. 

30. Logical Truth. 

A judgment may have for its reason another judgment ; 
in this case it has logical or formal truth. Whether it has 


material truth also, remains an open question and depends 
on whether the judgment on which it rests has material 
truth, or whether the series of judgments on which it is 
founded leads to a judgment which has material truth, or 
not. This founding of a judgment upon another judgment 
always originates in a comparison between them which 
takes place either directly, by mere conversion or contra 
position, or by adding a third judgment, and then the truth 
of the judgment we are founding becomes evident through 
their mutual relation. This operation is the complete 
syllogism. It is brought about either by the opposition or 
by the subsumption. of conceptions. As the syllogism, 
which is the founding of one judgment upon another by 
means of a third, never has to do with anything but judg 
ments ; and as judgments are only combinations of concep 
tions, and conceptions again are the exclusive object of our 
Reason : syllogizing has been rightly called Reason s special 
function. The whole syllogistic science, in fact, is nothing 
but the sum-total of the rules for applying the principle of 
sufficient reason to the mutual relations of judgments ; 
consequently it is the canon of logical truth. 

Judgments, whose truth becomes evident through the 
four well-known laws of thinking, must likewise be regarded 
as based upon other judgments ; for these four laws are 
themselves precisely judgments, from which follows the 
truth of those other judgments. For instance, the judg 
ment : " A triangle is a space enclosed within three lines," 
has for its last reason the Principle of Identity, that is to 
say, the thought expressed by that principle. The judg 
ment, " No body is without extension," has for its last 
reason the Principle of Contradiction. This again, " Every 
judgment is either true or untrue," has for its last reason 
the Principle of the Excluded Middle ; and finally, " No 
one can admit anything to be true without knowing 
why," has for its last reason the Principle of Sufficient 


Eeason of Knowing. In the general employment of our 
Reason, we do not, it is true, before admitting them to be 
true, reduce judgments which follow from the four laws of 
thinking to their last reasons, as premisses ; for most men 
are even ignorant of the very existence of these abstract laws. 
The dependence of such judgments upon them, as their 
premisses, is however no more diminished by this, than the 
dependence of the first judgment upon the second, as its 
premiss, is diminished by the fact, that it is not at all ne 
cessary for the principle, " all bodies incline towards the 
centre of the earth," to be present in the consciousness of 
any one who says, " this body will fall if its support is 
removed." That in Logic, therefore, intrinsic truth should 
hitherto have been attributed to all judgments founded 
exclusively on the four laws of thinking : that is to say, 
that these judgments should have been pronounced directly 
true, and that this intrinsic logical truth should have been 
distinguished from extrinsic logical truth, as attributed 
to all judgments which have another judgment for their 
reason, I cannot approve. Every truth is the reference of 
a judgment to something outside of it, and the term in 
trinsic truth is a contradiction. 

31. Empirical Truth. 

A judgment may be founded upon a representation of 
the first class, i.e. a perception by means of the senses, 
consequently on experience. In this case it has material 
truth, and moreover, if the judgment is founded imme 
diately on experience, this truth is empirical truth. 

When we say, "A judgment has material truth" we 
mean on the whole, that its conceptions are connected, 
separated, limited, according to the requirements of the 
intuitive representations through which it is inferred. To 
attain knowledge of this, is the direct function of the 


faculty of judgment, as the mediator between the intuitive 
and the abstract or discursive faculty of knowing in 
other words, between the Understanding and the Reason. 

32. Transcendental Truth. 

The forms of intuitive, empirical knowledge which lie 
within the Understanding and pure Sensibility may, as con 
ditions of all possible experience, be the grounds of a judg 
ment, which is in that case synthetical a priori. As neverthe 
less this kind of judgment has material truth, its truth is 
transcendental ; because the judgment is based not only on 
experience, but on the conditions of all possible experience 
lying within us. For it is determined precisely by that 
which determines experience itself : namely, either by the 
forms of Space and of Time perceived by us a priori, or by 
the causal law, known to us a priori. Propositions such 
as : two straight lines do not include a space ; nothing 
happens without a cause; matter can neither come into 
being nor perish ; 3 x 7 = 21, are examples of this kind 
of judgment. The whole of pure Mathematics, and no 
less my tables of the Prcedicabilia a priori, 1 as well as 
most of Kant s theorems in his " Metaphysische Anfangs- 
griinde derNaturwissenschaft," may, properly speaking, be 
adduced in corroboration of this kind of truth. 

. 33. Metalogical Truth. 

Lastly, a judgment may be founded on the formal con 
ditions of all thinking, which are contained in the Eeason ; 
and in this case its truth is of a kind which seems to me best 
denned as metalogical truth. This expression has nothing 
at all to do with the " Metalogicus " written by Johannes 

1 See " Die Welt a. W. u. V." 3rd edition, vol. ii. ch. iv. p. 55. 


Sarisberriensis in the twelfth century, for he declares in 
his prologue, " quia Logicce suscepi patrocinium, Metalogicus 
mscriptus est liber," and never makes use of the word again. 
There are only four metalogically true judgments of this 
sort, which were discovered long ago by induction, and 
called the laws of all thinking ; although entire uniformity 
of opinion as to their expression and even as to their 
number has not yet been arrived at, whereas all agree 
perfectly as to what they are on the whole meant to indi 
cate. They are the following : 

1. A subject is equal to the sum total of its predicates, 
or a = a. 

2. No predicate can be attributed and denied to a sub 
ject at the same time, or a = a = o. 

3. One of two opposite, contradictory predicates must 
belong to every subject. 

4. Truth is the reference of a judgment to something 
outside of it, as its sufficient reason. 

It is by means of a kind of reflection which I am in 
clined to call Reason s self-examination, that we know that 
these judgments express the conditions of all thinking, 
and therefore have these conditions for their reason. 
For, by the fruitlessness of its endeavours to think in 
opposition to these laws, our Eeason acknowledges them 
to be the conditions of all possible thinking : we then find 
out, that it is just as impossible to think in opposition 
to them, as it is to move the members of our body in a 
contrary direction to their joints. If it were possible for 
the subject to know itself, these laws would be known to 
us immediately, and we should not need to try experi 
ments with them on objects, i.e. representations. In this 
respect it is just the same with the reasons of judgments 
which have transcendental truth ; for they do not either 
come into our consciousness immediately, but only in 
concreto, by means of objects, i.e. of representations. In 


endeavouring, for instance, to conceive a change without a 
preceding cause, or a passing into or out of being of 
Matter, we become aware that it is impossible ; more 
over we recognise this impossibility to be an objective 
one, although its root lies in our intellect : for we could not 
otherwise bring it to consciousness in a subjective way. 
There is, on the whole, a strong likeness and connection 
between transcendental and metalogical truths, which 
shows that they spring from a common root. In this 
chapter we see the Principle of Sufficient Reason chiefly as 
metalogical truth, whereas in the last it appeared as 
transcendental truth and in the next one it will again be 
seen as transcendental truth under another form. In the 
present treatise I am taking special pains, precisely on 
this account, to establish the Principle of Sufficient Reason, 
as a judgment having a fourfold reason ; by which I do 
not mean four different reasons leading cont ngently to 
the same judgment, but one reason presenting itself under 
a fourfold aspect: and this is what I call its Fourfold 
Root. The other three metalogical truths so strongly 
resemble one another, that in considering them one is 
almost necessarily induced to search for their common 
expression, as I have done in the Ninth Chapter of the 
Second Volume of my chief work. On the other hand, they 
differ considerably from the Principle of Sufficient Reason. 
If we were to seek an analogue for the three other meta 
logical truths among transcendental truths, the one I should 
choose would be this : Substance, I mean Matter, is per 

34. Reason. 

As the class of representations I have dealt with in 
this chapter belongs exclusively to Man, and as all that 
distinguishes human life so forcibly from that of animals 



and confers so great a superiority on man, is, as we have 
shown, based upon his faculty for these representations, 
this faculty evidently and unquestionably constitutes that 
Reason, which from time immemorial has been reputed 
the prerogative of mankind. Likewise all that has been 
considered by all nations and in all times explicitly as 
the work or manifestation of the Reason, of the Xdyoc, 
Aoytjuoy, \oytffriK6v, ratio, la ragione, la razon, la raison, 
reason, may evidently also be reduced to what is only 
possible for abstract, discursive, reflective, mediate know 
ledge, conditioned by words, and not for mere intuitive, 
immediate, sensuous knowledge, which belongs to animals 
also. Cicero rightly places ratio et oratio together, 1 and de 
scribes them as quce docendo, discendo, communicando, discep- 
tando, judicando, conciliat inter se homines, &c. &c., and 2 
rationem dico, et, si placet, pluribusverbis, mentem, consilivm, 
cogitationem, prudentiam, And 3 ratio, qua una prcestamus 
beluis, per quam conjectura valemus, argumentamur, refelli- 
mus, disserimus, conficimus aliquid, concludimus. But, in all 
ages and countries, philosophers have invariably expressed 
themselves in this sense with respect to the Reason, even to 
Kant himself, who still defines it as the faculty for prin 
ciples and for inference ; although it cannot be denied that 
he first gave rise to the distorted views which followed. In 
my principal work, 4 and also in the Fundamental Pro 
blems of Ethics, I have spoken at great length about the 
agreement of all philosophers on this point, as well as 
about the true nature of Reason, as opposed to the dis 
torted conceptions for which we have to thank the pro- 

1 Cicer. " De Offic." i. 16. 2 Idem, " De nat. deor." ii. 7. 

3 Idem, " De Leg." i. 10. 

4 See "Die Welt a. W. u. V." 2nd edition, vol. i. 8, and also in 
the Appendix, pp. 577-585 (3rd edition, pp. 610-620), and again vol. ii. 
ch. vi. ; finally " Die b. G-P. d. Ethik," pp. 148-154 (2nd edition, 
pp. 146-151). 


fessors of philosophy of this century. I need not therefore 
repeat what has already been said there, and shall limit 
myself to the following considerations. 

Our professors of philosophy have thought fit to do away 
with the name which had hitherto been given to that faculty 
of thinking and pondering by means of reflection and con 
ceptions, which distinguishes man from animals, which 
necessitates language while it qualifies us for its use, 
with which all human deliberation and all human achieve 
ments hang together, and which had therefore always been 
viewed in this light and understood in this sense by all 
nations and even by all philosophers. In defiance of all 
sound taste and custom, our professors decided that this 
faculty should henceforth be called Understanding instead of 
Reason, and that all that is derived from it should be named 
intelligent instead of rational, which, of course, had a strange, 
awkward ring about it, like a discordant tone in music. 
For in all ages and countries the words understanding, 
intellectus, acumen, perspicacia, sagacitas, &c. &c., had been 
used to denote the more intuitive faculty described in our 
last chapter ; and its results, which differ specifically from 
those of Reason here in question, have always been called 
intelligent, sagacious, clever, &c. &c. Intelligent and rational 
were accordingly always distinguished one from the other, 
as manifestations of two entirely and widely different mental 
faculties. Our professional philosophers could not, how 
ever, take this into account; their policy required the 
sacrifice, and in such cases the cry is : " Move on, truth ; 
for we have higher, well-defined i ;i:ns in view ! Make way 
for us, truth, in majorem Dei gloriam, as thou hast long- 
ago learnt to do ! Is it thou who givest fees and pensions ? 
Move .on, truth, move on; betake thyself to merit and 
crouch in the corner ! " The fact was, they wanted Reason s 
place and name for a faculty of their own creation and 
fabrication, or to speak more correctly and honestly, for a 


completely fictitious faculty, destined to help them out of 
the straits to which Kant had reduced them ; a faculty 
for direct, metaphysical knowledge: that is to say, one 
which transcends all possible experience, is able to grasp 
the world of things in themselves and their relations, and 
is therefore, before all, consciousness of G-od (Gottesbewusst- 
sein) : that is, it knows G-od the Lord immediately, con 
strues a priori the way in which he has created the Universe, 
or, should this sound too trivial, the way in which he has pro 
duced it out of himself, or to a certain degree generated it 
by some more or less necessary vital process, or again as 
the most convenient proceeding, however comical it may 
appear simply " dismissed " it, according to the custom 
of sovereigns at the end of an audience, and left it to get 
upon its legs by itself and walk away wherever it liked. 
Nothing less than the impudence of a scribbler of nonsense 
like Hegel, could, it is true, be found to venture upon this 
last step. Yet it is torn-foolery like this which, largely 
amplified, has filled hundreds of volumes for the last fifty 
years under the name of cognitions of Reason (Vernunfter- 
kenntnisse), and forms the argument of so many works 
called philosophical by their authors, and scientific by others 
one would think ironically this expression being even 
repeated to satiety. Reason, to which all this wisdom 
is falsely and audaciously imputed, is pronounced to be 
a " super sensuous faculty," or a faculty " for ideas ; " 
in short, an oracular power lying within us, designed 
directly for Metaphysics. During the last half-century, 
however, there has been considerable discrepancy of opinion 
among the adepts as to the way in which all these super- 
sensuous wonders are perceived. According to the most 
audacious, Eeason has a direct intuition of the Absolute, 
or even ad libitum of the Infinite and of its evolutions to 
wards the Finite. Others, somewhat less bold, opine that 
its mode of receiving this information partakes rather of 


audition than of vision ; since it does not exactly see, but 
merely hears (vernimmt), what is going on in " cloud-cuckoo- 
land" (vetytXoKOKKvyia.), and then honestly transmits what 
it has thus received to the Understanding, to be worked up 
into text-books. According to a pun of Jacobi s, even the 
German name for Eeason, " Vernunft" is derived from 
this pretended " Vernehmen ; " whereas it evidently comes 
from that " VerneJimen " which is conveyed by language 
and conditioned by Eeason, and by which the distinct per 
ception of words and their meaning is designated, as opposed 
to mere sensuous hearing which animals have also. This 
miserable jeu de mots nevertheless continues, after half a 
century, to find favour; it passes for a serious thought, 
nay even for a proof, and has been repeated over and over 
again. The most modest among the adepts again assert, 
that Eeason neither sees nor hears, therefore it receives 
neither a vision nor a report of all these wonders, and has 
a mere vague AJindung, or misgiving of them ; but then 
they drop the d, by which the word (Ahnung) acquires a 
peculiar touch of silliness, which, backed up as it is by the 
sheepish look of the apostlefor the time being of this wisdom, 
cannot fail to gain it entrance. 

My readers know that I only admit the word idea in its 
primitive, that is Platonic, sense, and that I have treated 
this point at length and exhaustively in the Third Book of 
my chief work. The French and English, on the other 
hand, certainly attach a very commonplace, but quite clear 
and definite meaning to the word idee, or idea ; whereas 
the G-ermans lose their heads as soon as they hear the word 
Ideen; l all presence of mind abandons them, and they feel 
as if they were about to ascend in a balloon. Here there 
fore was a field of action for our adepts in intellectual intui 
tion ; so the most impudent of them, the notorious charlatan 

1 Here Schopenhauer adds, "especially when pronounced Uedahen" 


Hegel, without more ado, called his theory of the universe 
and of all things "Die Idee," and in this of course all 
thought that they had something to lay hold of. Still, if 
we inquire into the nature of these ideas for which Reason is 
pronounced to be the faculty, without letting ourselves be 
put out of countenance, the explanation usually given is an 
empty, high-flown, confused verbiage, in set periods of such 
length, that if the reader does not fall asleep before he 
has half read it, he will find himself bewildered rather than 
enlightened at the end ; nay, he may even have a suspicion 
that these ideas are very like chimaeras. Meanwhile, should 
anyone show a desire to know more about this sort of ideas, 
he will have all kinds of things served up to him. Now it 
will be the chief subjects of the theses of Scholasticism 
I allude here to the representations of God, of an immortal 
Soul, of a real, objectively existent World and its laws 
which Kant himself has unfortunately called Ideas of 
Reason, erroneously and unjustifiably, as I have shown in 
my Critique of his philosophy, yet merely with a view to 
proving the utter impossibility of demonstrating them and 
their want of all theoretical authority. Then again it will 
be, as a variation, only God, Freedom, and Immortality ; at 
other times it will be the Absolute, whose acquaintance we 
have already made in 20, as the Cosmological Proof, forced 
to travel incognito ; or the Infinite as opposed to the Finite ; 
for, on the whole, the German reader is disposed to con 
tent himself with such empty talk as this, without perceiving 
that the only clear thought he can get out of it is, tliat 
which has an end and that which has none. The 
G-ood, the True, and the Beautiful, moreover, stand high 
in favour with the sentimental and tender-hearted as 
pretended ideas, though they are really only three very wide 
and abstract conceptions, because they are extracted from 
a multitude of things and relations ; wherefore, like many 
other such dbstracta, they are exceedingly empty. As regards 


their contents, I have shown above ( 29) that Truth is a 
quality belonging exclusively to judgments : that is, a logical 
quality ; and as to the other two dbstracta, I refer my readers 
partly to 65 of the first volume, partly to the entire Third 
Book of my chief work. If, nevertheless, a very solemn and 
mysterious air is assumed and the eyebrows are raised up 
to the wig whenever these three meagre dbstracta are 
mentioned, young people may easily be induced to believe 
that something peculiar and inexpressible lies behind them, 
which entitles them to be called ideas, and harnessed to 
the triumphal car of this would-be metaphysical Eeason. 

When therefore we are told, that we possess a faculty 
for direct, material (i.e., not only formal, but substantial), 
supersensuous knowledge, (that is, a knowledge which 
transcends all possible experience), a faculty specially de 
signed for metaphysical insight, and inherent in us for 
this purpose I must take the liberty to call this a down 
right lie. For the slightest candid self-examination will 
suffice to convince us that absolutely no such faculty re 
sides within us. The result at which all honest, competent, 
authoritative thinkers have arrived in the course of ages, 
moreover, tallies exactly with my assertion. It is as fol 
lows: All that is innate in the whole of our cognitive 
faculty, all that is therefore a priori and independent of 
experience, is strictly limited to the formal part of know 
ledge : that is, to the consciousness of the peculiar functions 
of the intellect and of the only way in which they can 
possibly act; but in order to give material knowledge, 
these functions one and all require material from out 
side. Within us therefore lie the forms of external, ob 
jective perception : Time and Space, and then the law of 
Causality as a mere form of the Understanding which 
enables it to construct the objective, corporeal world 
finally, the formal part of abstract knowledge : this last is 
deposited and treated of in Logic, which our forefathers 


therefore rightly called the Theory of Reason. But this 
very Logic teaches us also, that the conceptions which con- 
stitute those judgments and conclusions to which all logical 
laws refer, must look to intuitive Imowled ge for their material 
and their content; just as the Understanding, which creates 
this intuitive knowledge, looks to sensation for the material 
which gives content to its a priori forms. 

Thus all that is material in our knowledge : that is to say, 
all that cannot be reduced to subjective/orw, to individual 
mode of activity, to functions of our intellect, its whole 
material therefore, comes from outside ; that is, in the last 
resort, from the objective perception of the corporeal world, 
which has its origin in sensation. Now it is this intuitive 
and, so far as material content is concerned, empirical 
knowledge, which Reason real Reason works up into con 
ceptions, which it fixes sensuously by means of words ; these 
conceptions then supply the materials for its endless combi 
nations through judgments and conclusions, which constitute 
the weft of our thought-world. Reason therefore has abso 
lutely no material, but merely a formal, content, and this is 
the object-matter of Logic, which consequently contains only 
forms and rules for thinking operations. In reflecting, 
Reason is absolutely forced to take its material contents 
from outside, i.e., from the intuitive representations which 
the Understanding has created. Its functions are exercised 
on them, first of all, in forming conceptions, by dropping 
some of the various qualities of things while retaining others, 
which are then connected together to a conception. Repre 
sentations, however, forfeit their capacity for being intui 
tively perceived by this process, while they become easier to 
deal with, as has already been shown. It is therefore in 
this, and in this alone, that the efficiency of Reason consists ; 
whereas it can never supply material content from its own re 
sources. It has nothing but forms : its nature is feminine ; 
it only conceives, but does not generate. It is not by mere 


chance that the Reason is feminine in all Latin, as well as 
Teutonic, languages ; whereas the Understanding is in 
variably masculine. 

In using such expressions as sound Eeason teaches 
this/ or Eeason should control passion, we by no means 
imply that Eeason furnishes material knowledge out of its 
own resources ; but rather do we point to the results of 
rational reflection, that is, to logical inference from prin 
ciples which abstract knowledge has gradually gathered 
from experience and by which we obtain a clear and com- 
prehensive view, not only of what is empirically necessary, 
and may therefore, the case occurring, be foreseen, but 
even of the reasons and consequences of our own deeds also. 
Reasonable or rational is everywhere synonymous with con 
sistent or logical, and conversely ; for Logic is only Eeason s 
natural procedure itself, expressed in a system of rules ; 
therefore these expressions (rational and logical) stand in 
the same relation to one another as theory and practice. 
Exactly in this same sense too, when we speak of a 
reasonable conduct, we mean by it one which is quite con 
sistent, one therefore which proceeds from general con 
ceptions, and is not determined by the transitory impres 
sion of the moment. By this, however, the morality of 
such conduct is in no wise determined : it may be good 
or bad indifferently. Detailed explanations of all this are 
to be found in my " Critique of Kant s Philosophy," x and 
also in my " Fundamental Problems of Ethics." 2 Notions 
derived from pure Eeason are, lastly, those which have 
their source in the/ormaZ part, whether intuitive or reflective, 
of our cognitive faculty ; those, consequently, which we are 
able to bring to our consciousness a priori, that is, without 

1 Die Welt a. "VV. u. Y." 2nd edition, vol. i. p. 576 ct scqq. ; 3rd 
edition, p. 610 et seg. 

2 Schopenhauer, "Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik," p. 152. 
2nd edition, p. 149 et scg. 


the help of experience. They are invariably based upon 
principles which have transcendental or metalogical truth. 
A Eeason, on the other hand, which supplies material 
knowledge primarily out of its own resources and conveys 
positive information transcending the sphere of possible 
experience ; a Reason which, in order to do this, must 
necessarily contain innate ideas, is a pure fiction, in 
vented by our professional philosophers and a product 
of the terror with which Kant s Critique of Pure Eeason 
has inspired them. I wonder now, whether these gentle 
men know a certain Locke and whether they have ever 
read his works? Perhaps they may have done so in 
times long gone by, cursorily and superficially, while look 
ing down complacently on this great thinker from the 
heights of their own conscious superiority : may be, too, in 
some inferior German translation ; for I do not yet see that 
the knowledge of modern languages has increased in pro 
portion to the deplorable decrease in that of ancient ones. 
How could time besides be found for such old croakers as 
Locke, when even a real, thorough knowledge of Kant s 
Philosophy at present hardly exists excepting in a very few, 
very old heads ? The youth of the generation now at its 
maturity had of course to be spent in the study of 
"Hegel s gigantic mind," of the "sublime Schleiermacher," 
and of the " acute Herbart." Alas ! alas ! the great mis 
chief in academical hero-worship of this sort, and in the 
glorification of university celebrities by worthy colleagues 
in office or hopeful aspirants to it, is precisely, that 
ordinary intellects Nature s mere manufactured ware 
are presented to honest credulous youths of immature 
judgment, as master minds, exceptions and ornaments of 
mankind. The students forthwith throw all their energies 
into the barren study of the endless, insipid scribblings of 
such mediocrities, thus wasting the short, invaluable period 
allotted to them for higher education, instead of using it 


to attain the sound information they might have found in 
the works of those extremely rare, genuine, truly excep 
tional thinkers, nantes in gurgite vasto, who only rise to the 
surface every now and then in the course of ages, because 
Nature produced but one of each kind, and then "destroyed 
the mould." For this generation also those great minds 
might have had life, had our youth not been cheated out 
of its share in their wisdom by these exceedingly pernicious 
extollers of mediocrity, members of the vast league and 
brotherhood of mediocrities, which is as nourishing to-day 
as it ever was and still hoists its flag as high as it can in 
persistent antagonism to all that is great and genuine, 
as humiliating to its members. Thanks to them, our age 
has declined to so low an ebb, that Kant s Philosophy, 
which it took our fathers years of study, of serious appli 
cation and of strenuous effort to understand, has again 
become foreign to the present generation, which stands 
before it like OVOQ Trpo^ \vpav, at times attacking it coarsely 
and clumsily as barbarians throw stones at the statue of 
some Greek god which is foreign to them. Now, as this is 
the case, I feel it incumbent upon me to advise all cham 
pions of a Reason that perceives, comprehends, and knows 
directly in short, that supplies material knowledge out of 
its own resources to read, as something new to them, the 
First Book of Locke s work, which has been celebrated 
throughout the world for the last hundred and fifty years, 
and in it especially to peruse 21-26 of the Third Chap 
ter, expressly directed against all innate notions. For 
although Locke goes too far in denying all innate truths, 
inasmuch as he extends his denial even to our formal 
knowledge a point in which he has been brilliantly recti 
fied by Kant he is nevertheless perfectly and undeniably 
right with reference to all material knowledge : that is, all 
knowledge which gives substance. 

I have already said in my Ethics what I must never- 


theless repeat here, because, as the Spanish proverb says, 
" No Tiuy peor sordo que quien no quiere oir " (None so 
deaf as those who will not hear) : namely, that if Reason 
were a faculty specially designed for Metaphysics, a faculty 
which supplied the material of knowledge and could re 
veal that which transcends all possible experience, the 
same harmony would 4 necessarily reign between men on 
metaphysical and religious subjects for they are iden 
tical as on mathematical ones, and those who differed in 
opinion from the rest would simply be looked upon as not 
quite right in their mind. Now exactly the contrary takes 
place, for on no subject are men so completely at variance 
with one another as upon these. Ever since men first 
began to think, philosophical systems have opposed and 
combated each other everywhere; they are, in fact, 
often diametrically contrary to one another. Ever since 
men first began to believe (which is still longer), religions 
have fought against one another with fire and sword, with 
excommunication and cannons. But in times when faith 
was most ardent, it was not the lunatic asylum, but the 
Inquisition, with all its paraphernalia, which awaited in 
dividual heretics. Here again, therefore, experience flatly 
and categorically contradicts the false assertion, that 
Reason is a faculty for direct metaphysical knowledge, or, 
to speak more clearly, of inspiration from above. Surely 
it is high time that severe judgment should be passed 
upon this Reason, since, horribile dictu, so lame, so 
palpable a falsehood continues after half a century to 
be hawked about all over Germany, wandering year by 
year from the professors chair to the students bench, 
and from bench to chair, and has actually found a few 
simpletons, even in France, willing to believe in it, and 
carry it about in that country also. Here, however, French 
bon-sens will very soon send la raison transcendentale about 
its business. 


But where was this falsehood originally hatched ? How 
did the fiction first corne into the world ? I am bound to 
confess that it was first originated by Kant s Practical 
Reason with its Categorical Imperative. For when this 
Practical Eeason had once been admitted, nothing further 
was needed than the addition of a second, no less sove 
reign Theoretical Reason, as its counterpart, or twin- sister : 
a Eeason which proclaims metaphysical truths ex tripode. 
I have described the brilliant success of this invention 
in my Fundamental Problems of Ethics l to which 
work I refer my reader. Now, although I grant that 
Kant first gave rise to this false assumption, am, never 
theless, bound to add, that those who want ^o dance are 
not long in finding a piper. For it is surely as though 
a curse lay on mankind, causing them, in virtue of a 
natural afiinity for all that is corrupt and bad, to prefer 
and hold up to admiration the inferior, not to say down 
right defective, portions of the works of eminent minds, 
while the really admirable parts are tolerated as merely 
accessory. Very few in our time know wherein the pecu 
liar depth and true grandeur of Kant s philosophy lies; 
for his works have necessarily ceased to be comprehended 
since they have ceased to be studied. In fact, they are 
now only cursorily read, for historical purposes, by those 
who are under the delusion that philosophy has advanced, 
not to say begun, since Kant. We soon perceive there 
fore, that in spite of all their talk about Kantian philoso 
phy, these people really know nothing of it but the husk, 
the mere outer envelope, and that if perchance they may 
here or there have taught up a stray sentence or brought 
away a rough sketch of it, they have never penetrated to 
the depths of its meaning and spirit. People of this sort 
have always been chiefly attracted, in Kant s Philosophy, 

1 Schopenhauer, "Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik, 5 p. 148 
and sqq. (p. 146 et scg. of 2nd edition.) 


first of all by the Antinomies, on account of their oddity, 
but still more by his Practical Eeason with its Cate 
gorical Imperative, nay even by the Moral Theory he placed 
on the top of it, though with this last he was never in 
earnest ; for a theoretical dogma which has only practical 
validity, is very like the wooden guns we allow our children 
to handle without fear of danger : properly speaking, it 
belongs to the same category as : " Wash my skin, but 
without wetting it." Now, as regards the Categorical Im 
perative, Kant never asserted it as a fact, but, on the con 
trary, protests repeatedly against this being done ; he 
merely served it up as the result of an exceedingly curious 
combination of thoughts, because he stood in need of a 
sheet-anchor for morality. Our professors of philosophy, 
however, never sifted the matter to the bottom, so that it 
seems as if no one before me had ever thoroughly investi 
gated it. Instead of this, they made all haste to bring the 
Categorical Imperative into credit as a firmly established 
fact, calling it in their purism " the moral law" which, 
by the way, always reminds me of Biirger s " Mam zelle 
Laregle ; " indeed, they have made out of it something as 
massive as the stone tables of Moses, whose place it 
entirely takes, for them. Now in my Essay upon the 
Fundament of Morality, I have brought this same 
Practical Eeason with its Categorical Imperative under the 
anatomical knife, and proved so clearly and conclusively 
that they never had any life or truth, that I should like 
to see the man who can refute me with reasons, and so 
help the Categorical Imperative honestly on its legs again. 
Meanwhile, our professors of philosophy do not allow 
themselves to be put out of countenance by this. They 
can no more dispense with their " moral law of practical 
Eeason," as a convenient deus ex machina, on which to 
found their morality, than with Free Will : both are essen 
tial points in their old woman s philosophy. No matter if 


I have made an end of both, since, for them, both continue 
to exist, like deceased sovereigns who for political reasons 
are occasionally allowed to continue reigning for a few 
days after their death. These worthies simply pursue 
their tactics of old against my merciless demolition of those 
two antiquated fictions : silence, silence ; and so they glide 
past noiselessly, feigning ignorance, to make the public 
believe that I and the like of me are not worth listening to. 
Well, to be sure, their philosophical calling comes to them 
from the ministry, while mine only comes from Nature. 
True, we may at last perhaps discover that these heroes act 
upon the same principle as that idealistic bird, the ostrich, 
which imagines that by closing its eyes it does away with 
the huntsman. Ah well! we must bide our time ; if the 
public can only be brought to take up meantime with the 
barren twaddle, the unbearably tiresome repetitions, the 
arbitrary constructions of the Absolute, and the infant- 
school morality of these gentlemen say, till I am dead and 
they can trim up my works as they like we shall then 

Morgen babe denn das Eechte 

Seine Freunde wohlgesinnet, 

Wenn nur heute noch das Scblechte 

Vollen Platz und Gunst gewinnet. 

GoTHEj West-Oestlichcr Divan. 

But do these gentlemen know what time of day it is ? 
A long predicted epoch has set in ; the church is beginning 
to totter, nay it totters already to such a degree, that it 
is doubtful whether it will ever be able to recover its centre 
of gravity ; for faith is lost. The light of revelation, like 
other lights, requires a certain amount of darkness as an 
indispensable condition. The number of those who have been 
unfitted for belief by a certain degree and extent of know 
ledge, is already very large. Of this we have evident signs 
in the general diffusion of that shallow Rationalism which 


is showing its bulldog face daily more and more overtly. 
It quietly sets to work to measure those profound mys 
teries of Christianity over which centuries have brooded 
and disputed with its draper s ell, and thinks itself 
wondrous wise withal. It is, however, the very quintes 
sence of Christianity, the dogma of Original Sin, which 
these shallow-brained Rationalists have especially singled 
out for a laughing-stock ; precisely because nothing seems 
clearer or more certain to them, than that existence should 
begin for each of us with our birth : nothing therefore so 
impossible as that we can have come into the world already 
burdened with guilt. How acute ! And just as in times 
of prevailing poverty and neglect, wolves begin to make 
their appearance in villages ; so does Materialism, ever 
lying in wait, under these circumstances lift up its head 
and come to the front hand in hand with Bestialism, 
its companion, which some call Humanism. Our thirst 
after knowledge augments with our incapacity for belief. 
There comes a boiling-point in the scale of all intellectual 
development, at which all faith, all revelation, and ail 
authority evaporate, and Man claims the right to judge for 
himself; the right, not only to be taught, but to be convinced. 
The leading-strings of his infancy have fallen off, and 
henceforth he demands leave to walk alone. Yet his 
craving for Metaphysics can no more be extinguished than 
any physical want. Then it is, that the desire for philo 
sophy becomes serious and that mankind invokes the 
spirits of all the genuine thinkers who have issued from 
its ranks. Then, too, empty verbiage and the impotent 
endeavours of emasculated intellects no longer suffice ; the 
want of a serious philosophy is felt, having other aims 
in view than fees and salaries, and caring little therefore 
whether it meets the approbation of cabinet-ministers, or 
councillors, whether it serves the purposes of this or that 
religious faction, or not ; a philosophy which, on the con- 


trary, clearly shows that it has a very different mission in 
view from that of procuring a livelihood for the poor in 

But I return to my argument. By means of an amplifica 
tion which only needed a little audacity, a theoretical oracle 
had been added to the practical oracle with which Kant 
had wrongly endowed Reason. The credit of this inven 
tion is no doubt due to F. H. Jacobi, from whom the 
professional philosophers joyfully and thankfully received 
the precious gift, as a means to help them out of the straits 
to which Kant had reduced them. That cool, calm, de 
liberate Reason, which Kant had criticized so mercilessly, 
was henceforth degraded to Understanding and known by 
this name; while Reason was supposed to denote an 
entirely imaginary, fictitious faculty, admitting us, as it 
were, to a little window overlooking the superlunar, nay, 
the supernatural world, through which all those truths 
are handed to us ready cut and dried, concerning which 
old-fashioned, honest, reflective Reason had for ages 
vainly argued and contended. And it is on such a mere 
product of the imagination, such a completely fictitious 
Reason as this, that G-erman sham philosophy has been 
based for the last fifty years ; first, as the free construction 
and projection of the absolute Ego and the emanation 
from it of the non-Ego ; then, as the intellectual intuition 
of absolute identity or indifference, and its evolutions to 
Nature ; or again, as the arising of G-od out of his dark 
depths or bottomless pit * a la Jakob Bohme ; lastly, as the 
pure, self -thinking, absolute Idea, the scene of the ballet- 
dance of the self -moving conceptions still, at the same 
time, always as immediate apprehension (Vemehmen) of the 
Divine, the supersensuous, the Deity, verity, beauty and as 
many other " -ties " as may be desired, or even as a mere 

1 " Aits seinem Grrund oder Ungrund" 


vague presentiment 1 of all these wonders. So this is Season, 
is it ? Oh no, it is simply a farce, of which our professors 
of philosophy, who are sorely perplexed by Kant s serious 
critiques, avail themselves in order to pass off the subjects 
of the established religion of their country somehow or 
other, per fas aut nefas, for the results of philosophy. 

For it behoves all professorial philosophy, before all 
things, to establish beyond doubt, and to give a philoso 
phical basis to, the doctrine, that there is a God, Creator, 
and Ruler of the Universe, a personal, consequently in 
dividual, Being, endowed with Understanding and Will, 
who has created the world out of nothing, and who rules 
it with sublime wisdom, power and goodness. This obli 
gation, however, places our professors of philosophy in 
an awkward position with respect to serious philosophy. 
For Kant had appeared and the Critique of Pure Reason, 
was written more than sixty years ago, the result being, 
that of all the proofs of the existence of God which had 
been brought forward during the Christian ages, and 
which may be reduced to three which alone are possible, 
none are able to accomplish the desired end. Nay, the 
iuipossibity of any such proof, and with it the impossibility 
of all speculative theology, is shown at length a priori 
and not in the empty verbiage or Hegelian jargon now 
in fashion, which may be made to mean anything one 
likes, but quite seriously and honestly, in the good old- 
fashioned way ; wherefore, however little it may have been 
"to the taste of many people, nothing cogent could be 
brought forward in reply to it for the last sixty years, and 
the proofs of the existence of God have in consequence 
lost all credit, and are no longer in use. Our professors of 
philosophy have even begun to look down upon them and 
treat them with decided contempt, as ridiculous and super 
fluous attempts to demonstrate what was self-evident. 
1 " Ahnung without the d." See above, p. 133. (Tr. s note.) 


Ho ! ho ! what a pity this was not found out sooner! How 
much trouble might have been spared in searching whole 
centuries for these proofs, and how needless it would have 
been for Kant to bring the whole weight of his Critique 
of Eeason to bear upon and crush them ! Some folks, 
will no doubt be reminded by this contempt of the 
fox with the sour grapes. But those who wish to see a 
slight specimen of it will find a particularly characteristic 
one in Schelling s " Philosophische Schriften," vol. i., 1809, 
p. 152. Now, whilst others were consoling themselves with 
Kant s assertion, that it is just as impossible to prove the 
non-existence, as the existence, of God as if, forsooth, the 
old wag did not know that affirmanti incumbit probatio 
Jacobi s admirable invention came to the rescue of our per 
plexed professors, and granted G-erman savants of this cen 
tury a peculiar sort of Eeason that had never been known 
or heard of before. 

Yet all these artifices were quite unnecessary. For the 
impossibility of proving the existence of God by no means 
interferes with that existence, since it rests in unshakeable 
security on a much firmer basis. It is indeed a matter 
of revelation, and this is besides all the more certain, 
because that revelation was exclusively vouchsafed to a 
single people, called, on this account, the chosen people of 
G-od. This is made evident by the fact, that the notion 
of God, as personal Euler and Creator of the world, or 
daining everything for the best, is to be found in no other 
religion but the Jewish, and the two faiths derived from 
it, which might consequently in a wider sense be called 
Jewish sects. We find no trace of such a notion in anv 
other religion, ancient or modern. For surely no one 
would dream of confounding this Creator God Almignty 
with the Hindoo Brahm, which is living in me, in you, 
in my horse, in your dog or even with Brahma, who is 
born and dies to malic way for other Brahmas, and to whom 


moreover the production of the world is imputed as sin and 
guilt 1 least of all with beguiled Saturn s voluptuous son, 
to whom Prometheus, defiant, prophesies his downfall. But 
if we finally direct our attention towards the religion which 
numbers most followers, and in this respect may therefore 
be said to rank foremost : that is, Buddhism, we can 
no longer shut our eyes to the fact that it is as decidedly 
and explicitly atheistic, as it is idealistic and ascetic ; and 
this moreover to such a degree, that its priests express 
the greatest abhorrence of the doctrine of pure Theism 
whenever it is brought to their notice. Therefore, in a 
treatise handed to a Catholic bishop by the High Priest 
of the Buddhists at Ava, 2 the doctrine " that there is a 
Being who has created the world and all things, and who 
alone is worthy of worship," is counted among the six 
damnable heresies. 8 This is entirely corroborated by 
I. J. Schmidt, a most excellent and learned authority* 
whom I consider as having undoubtedly the deepest know 
ledge of Buddhism of any European savant, and who, in his 
work " Upon the connection between Gnostic doctrines and 
Buddhism," p. 9, says : 

" In the writings of the Buddhists not a trace is to be 
found of any positive indication of a Supreme Being as the 
principle of Creation. Whenever this subject presents 
itself consistently in the course of argument, it seems, 
indeed, to be intentionally evaded." And again : " The 
system of Buddhism knows of no eternal, uncreated, 

1 "If Brimha be unceasingly employed in the creation of worlds 

how can tranquillity be obtained by inferior orders of being ? " Prabodh 
Chandro Daya, translated by J. Taylor, p. 23. Brahma is also part of 
the Trimurti, which is the personification of nature, as procreation, 
preservation, and death : that is, he represents the first of these. 

2 See " Asiatic Researches," vol. vi. p. 268, and Sangennano s " De 
scription of the Burmese Empire," p. 81. 

3 See I. J. Schmidt, " Forschungen im Gebiete der alteren Bildungs- 
geschichte Mittelasiens." St. Petersburg, 1824, pp. 276, and 180. % 


one and only Being, having existed before Time and 
created all that is visible and invisible. This idea is quite 
foreign to Buddhism, and not a trace of it is to be found 
in Buddhist works. And just as little mention do we find 
of Creation. True, the visible Universe is not without a be 
ginning, but it arose out of empty Space, according to con 
sistent, immutable, natural laws. We should however err, 
were we to assume that anything call it Fate or Nature 
is regarded or revered by the Buddhists as a divine principle; 
on the contrary, it is just this very development of empty 
Space, this precipitate from it or this division into count 
less parts, this Matter thus arising, which constitutes the 
Evil of Jirtintschi, or of the Universe in its inner and outer 
relations, out of which sprang Ortschilang, or continuous 
change according to immutable laws, which the same Evil 
had established." Then again : * " The expression Creation 
is foreign to Buddhism, which only knows Cosmogony ; " 
and, " We must comprehend that no idea of a creation of 
divine origin is compatible with their system." I could 
bring forward a hundred corroborative passages like these; 
but will limit myself to one more, which I quote on account 
of its popular and official character. The third volume of 
a very instructive Buddhist work, "Mahavansi, E-aja- 
ratnacari, and Raja-Vali," 2 contains a translation of the 
interrogatories to which the High Priests of the five chief 
Pagodas were separately and successively subjected by the 
Dutch Governor of Ceylon about the year 1766. It is 
exceedingly amusing to see the contrast between the inter 
locutors, who have the greatest difficulty in understanding 
one another s meaning. In conformity with the doctrines 
of their faith, these priests, who are penetrated with love 

1 I. J. Schmidt, Lecture delivered in the Academy at St. Petersburg 
en the 15th Sept. 1830, p. 26. 

2 Mahavansi, Raja-ratnacari, and Kaja- Vali, from the Singhalese, by 
E. Upham. London, 1833. 


and compassion for all living beings, not excepting even 
Dutch Governors, spare no pains to satisfy him by their 
answers. But the artless, na ive Atheism of these priests, 
whose piety extends even to practising continence, soon comes 
into conflict with the deep convictions founded on Judaism, 
imbibed by the Governor in his infancy. This faith has 
become a second nature for him ; he cannot in the least 
understand that these priests are not Theists, therefore 
he constantly returns to his inquiries after a Supreme 
Being, asking them who created the world, and so forth. 
Whereupon they answer that there can be no higher 
being than Buddha Shakia-Muni, the Victorious and 
the Perfect, who, though a king s son by birth, volun 
tarily lived the life of a beggar, and preached to the 
end his sublime doctrine, for the Redemption of mankind, 
and for our salvation from the misery of constant re 
nascence. They hold that the world has not been made by 
anyone/ that it is self-created, that Nature spreads it out, 
and draws it in again ; but that it is that, which existing, 
does not exist : that it is the necessary accompaniment of 
renascence, and that renascence is the result of our sinful 
conduct, &c. &c. &c. I mention such facts as these chiefly 
on account of the really scandalous way in which G-erman 
savants still universally persist, even to the present day, in 
looking upon Religion and Theism as identical and sy 
nonymous ; whereas Religion is, in fact, to Theism as the 
genus to the single species, and Judaism and Theism are 
alone identical. For this reason we stigmatize as heathen 
all nations who are neither Jews, Christians, nor Mahome 
tans. Christians are even taxed by Mahometans and Jews 
with the impurity of their Theism, because of the dogma 
of the Trinity. For, whatever may be said to the contrary, 

1 Kooyiov TOV$() 0rj<r(V Hpa/c\ro, OVTZ rig Oeutv ovrz av9ptt)7Td)v 
CTTOITJOW. (Neither a God nor a man created this world, says Hera- 
clitus.) Plut. (< De animse procreatione," c. 5. 


Christianity lias Indian blood in its veins, therefore it con 
stantly tends to free itself from Judaism. The Critique 
of Pure Reason is the most serious attack that has ever 
been made upon Theism and this is why our professors 
of philosophy have been in such a hurry to set Kant 
aside ; but had that work appeared in any country where 
Buddhism prevailed, it would simply have been regarded 
as an edifying treatise intended to refute heresy more 
thoroughly by a salutary confirmation of the orthodox doc 
trine of Idealism that is, the doctrine of the merely appa 
rent existence of the world, as it presents itself to our 
senses. Even the two other religions which coexist with 
Buddhism in China those of Taotsee and of Confu 
cius are just as Atheistic as Buddhism itself ; wherefore 
the missionaries have never been able to translate the first 
verse of the Pentateuch into Chinese, because there is no 
word in the language for God and Creation. Even the 
missionary Giitzlaff, in his "History of the Chinese Empire," 
p. 18, has the honesty to say : " It is extraordinary that 
none of the (Chinese) philosophers ever soared high enough 
to reach the knowledge of a Creator and Lord of the 
Universe, although they possessed the Light of Nature in 
full measure." J. F. Davis likewise quotes a passage, 
which is quite in accordance with this, from Milne s Pre 
face to his translation of the Shing-yu, where in speaking 
of that work, he says that we may see from it " that the 
bare Light of Nature, as it is called, even when aided by 
all the light of Pagan philosophy, is totally incapable of 
leading men to the knowledge and worship of the true 
God." All this confirms the fact that revelation is the sole 
foundation on which Theism rests ; indeed, it must be so, 
unless revelation is to be superfluous. This is a good oppor 
tunity for observing that the word Atheism itself implies a 
surreptitious assumption, since it takes Theism for granted 
as a matter of course. It would be more hon&t to say 


Non-Judaism instead of Atheism, and Non-Jew instead of 

Now as, according to the above, the existence of God 
belongs to revelation, by which it is firmly established, it 
has no need whatever of human authentication. Philo 
sophy, however, is properly speaking only an idle, super 
fluous attempt to let Reason that is, the human power of 
thinking, reflecting, deliberating once in a while, try its 
own powers unassisted, as a child is now and then allowed 
to run alone on a lawn and try its strength without leading- 
strings, just to see what will come of it. Tests and experi 
ments of this kind we call speculation ; and it lies in the nature 
of the matter that it should, for once, leave all authority, 
human or divine, out of consideration, ignore it, and go its 
own way in search of the most sublime, most important 
truths. Now, if on this basis it should arrive at the very same 
results as those mentioned above, to which Kant had come, 
speculation has no right on that account to cast all honesty 
and conscience forthwith aside, and take to by-ways, in 
order somehow or other to get back to the domain of 
Judaism, as its conditio sine qua non ; it ought rather 
henceforth to seek truth quite honestly and simply by any 
road that may happen to lie open before it, but never to 
allow any other light than that of Reason to guide it : thus 
advancing calmly and confidently, like one at work in his 
vocation, without concern as to where that road may lead. 

If our professors of philosophy put a different construc 
tion on the matter, and hold that they cannot eat their 
bread in honour, so long as they have not reinstalled G-od 
Almighty on his throne as if, forsooth, he stood in need 
of them this already accounts for their not relishing my 
writings, and explains why I am not the man for them ; 
for I certainly do not deal in this sort of article, nor have 
I the newest reports to communicate about the Almighty 
every Leipzig fair-time, as they have. 



35. Explanation of this Class of Objects. 

IT is the formal part of complete representations that 
is to say, the intuitions given us a priori of the forms 
of the outer and inner sense, i.e. of Space and of Time 
which constitutes the Third Class of Objects for our repre 
sentative faculty. 

As pure intuitions, these forms are objects for the 
faculty of representation by themselves and apart from 
complete representations and from the determinations of 
being empty or filled which these representations first add to 
them ; since even pure points and pure lines cannot be 
brought to sensuous perception, but are only a priori in 
tuitions, just as the infinite expansion and the infinite 
divisibility of Space and of Time are exclusively objects of 
pure intuition and foreign to empirical perception. That 
which distinguishes the third class of representations, in 
which Space and Time are pure intuitions, from the first 
class, in which they are sensuously (and moreover con 
jointly) perceived, is Matter, which I have therefore de 
fined, on the one hand, as the perceptibility of Space and 
Time, on the other, as objectified Causality. 

The form of Causality, on the contrary, which belongs 
to the Understanding, is not separately and by itself 


an object for our faculty of representation, nor have we 
consciousness of it, until it is connected with what is 
material in our knowledge. 

36. Principle of the Sufficient Reason of Being. . 

Space and Time are so constituted, that all their parts 
stand in mutual relation, so that each of them conditions 
and is conditioned by another. We call this relation in 
Space, position ; in Time, succession. These relations are 
peculiar ones, differing entirely from all other possible 
relations of our representations ; neither the Understand 
ing nor the Reason are therefore able to grasp them by 
means of mere conceptions, and pure intuition a priori 
alone makes them intelligible to us ; for it is impossible 
by mere conceptions to explain clearly what is meant by 
above and below, right and left, behind and before, before 
and after. Kant rightly confirms this by the assertion, 
that the distinction between our right and left glove can 
not be made intelligible in any other way than by intui 
tion. Now, the law by which the divisions of Space and 
of Time determine one another reciprocally with reference 
to these relations (position and succession) is what I call 
the Principle of the Sufficient Reason of Being, principium 
rationis sufficientis essendi. I have already given an example 
of this relation in 15, by which I have shown, through 
the connection between the sides and angles of a triangle, 
that this relation is not only quite different from that 
between cause and effect, but also from that between 
reason of knowledge and consequent ; wherefore here the 
condition may be called Reason of Being, ratio essendi. 
The insight into such a reason of being can, of course, be 
come a reason of knowing : just as the insight into the law 
of causality and its application to a particular case is the 
reason of knowledge of the effect ; but this in no way 


annuls the complete distinction between Reason of Being, 
Reason of Becoming, and Reason of Knowing. It often 
happens, that what according to one form of oar principle 
is consequence, is, according to another, reason. The rising 
of the quicksilver in a thermometer, for instance, is the 
consequence of increased heat according to the law of 
causality, while according to the principle of the sufficient 
reason of knowing it is the reason, the ground of know- 
ledge, of the increased heat and also of the judgment by 
which this is asserted. 

37. Reason of Being in Space. 

The position of each division of Space towards any 
other, say of any given line and this is equally ap 
plicable to planes, bodies, and points determines also 
absolutely its totally different position with reference to 
any other possible line ; so that the latter position stands 
to the former in the relation of the consequent to its 
reason. As the position of this given line towards any 
other possible line likewise determines its position to 
wards all the others, and as therefore the position of the 
first two lines is itself determined by all the others, it is 
immaterial which we consider as being first determined 
and determining the others, i.e. which particular one we 
regard as ratio and which others as rationata. This is so, 
because in Space there is no succession ; for it is precisely 
by uniting Space and Time to form the collective re 
presentation of the complex of experience, that the repre 
sentation of coexistence arises. Thus an analogue to so- 
called reciprocity prevails everywhere in the Reason of 
Being in Space, as we shall see in 48, where I enter 
more fully into- the reciprocity of reasons. Now, as every 
line is determined by all the others just as much as it de 
termines them, it is arbitrary to consider any line merely 


as determining and not as being determined, and the posi 
tion of each towards any other admits the question as to 
its position with reference to some other line, which second 
position necessarily determines the first and makes it that 
which it is. It is therefore just as impossible to find an 
end aparte ante in the series of links in the chain of Eeasons 
of Being as in that of Reasons of Becoming, nor can we find 
any a parte post either, because of the infinity of Space and 
of the lines possible within Space. All possible relative 
spaces are figures, because they are limited ; and all these 
figures have their Eeason of Being in one another, because 
they are conterminous. The series rationum essendi in 
Space therefore, like the series rationum fiendi, proceeds in 
infinitum ; and moreover not only in a single direction, like 
the latter, but in all directions. 

Nothing of all this can be proved ; for the truth of these 
principles is transcendental, they being directly founded 
upon the intuition of Space given us a priori. 

38. Reason of being in Time. Arithmetic. 

Every instant in Time is conditioned by the preceding 
one. The Sufficient Reason of Being, as the law of conse 
quence, is so simple here, because Time has only one dimen 
sion, therefore it admits of no multiplicity of relations. 
Each instant is conditioned by its predecessor ; we can only 
reach it through that predecessor : only so far as this was 
and has elapsed, does the present one exist, All counting 
rests upon this nexus of the divisions of Time, numbers 
only serving to mark the single steps in the succession ; 
upon it therefore rests all arithmetic likewise, which teaches 
absolutely nothing but methodical abbreviations of nume 
ration. Each number pre-supposes its predecessors as the 
reasons of its being : we can only reach the number ten by 
passing through all the preceding numbers, and it is only 


in virtue of this insight that I know, that where ten are, 
there also are eight, six, four. 

39. Geometry. 

The whole science of Geometry likewise rests upon the 
nexus of the position of the divisions of Space. It would, 
accordingly, be an insight into that nexus ; only such an 
insight being, as we have already said, impossible by means 
of mere conceptions, or indeed in any other way than by in 
tuition, every geometrical proposition would have to be 
brought back to sensuous intuition, and the proof would 
simply consist in making the particular nexus in question 
clear; nothing more could be done. Nevertheless we 
find G-eometry treated quite differently. Euclid s Twelve 
Axioms are alone held to be based upon mere intuition, 
and even of these only the Ninth, Eleventh, and Twelfth 
are properly speaking admitted to be founded upon diffe 
rent, separate intuitions ; while the rest are supposed to 
be founded upon the knowledge that in science we do not, 
as in experience, deal with real things existing for themselves 
side by side, and susceptible of endless variety, but on the 
contrary with conceptions, and in Mathematics with normal 
intuitions, i.e. figures and numbers, whose laws are binding 
for all experience, and which therefore combine the compre 
hensiveness of the conception with the complete definite- 
ness of the single representation. For although, as intuitive 
representations, they are throughout determined with com 
plete precision no room being left in this way by anything 
remaining undetermined still they are general, because 
they are the bare forms of all phenomena, and, as such, 
applicable to all real objects to which such forms belong, 
What Plato says of his Ideas would therefore, even in 
Geometry, hold good of these normal intuitions, just as 
well as of conceptions, i.e. that two cannot be exactly 


similar, for then they would be but one. 1 This would, I 
say, be applicable also to normal intuitions in Geometry, 
if it were not that, as exclusively spacial objects, these 
differ from one another in mere juxtaposition, that is, in 
place. Plato had long ago remarked this, as we are told 
by Aristotle : 2 tri (He, Trapa TO. alaQt]ra KCti TO. udr), TO. padrj- 
uartKa Tutv irpayfjiar^v tival (j)i](Ti jutrav, ^m^t povra rwv JJLEV 
alcrdriTwr ry aidia feat aKtvrjTa etVcu, rwv f) EiCwv ry ra /uej> 
7roX/V ctrra opoia etVat, TO ^e eldoQ avru v tKaarov {JLOVOV 
(item, prceter sensibilia et species, matJiematica rerum ait 
media esse, a sensibilibus quidem differentia eo, quod per- 
petua et immobilia sunt, a speciebus vero eo, quod illorum 
quidem multa qucedam similia sunt, species vero ipsct, 
unaquceque sola). Now the mere knowledge that such a 
difference of place does not annul the rest of the identity, 
might surely, it seems to me, supersede the other nine 
axioms, and would, I think, be better suited to the nature 
of science, whose aim is knowledge of the particular through 
the general, than the statement of nine separate axioms 
all based upon the same insight. Moreover, what Aristotle 
says: cV TOVTOLQ ^ laoTrjQ kvorijg (in illis cequalitas unites 
est) 3 then becomes applicable to geometrical figures. 
But with reference to the normal intuitions in Time, i.e. 

1 Platonic ideas may, after all, be described as normal intuitions, 
which would hold good not only for what is formal, but also for what is 
material in complete representations therefore as complete representa 
tions which, as such, would be determined throughout, while compre 
hending many things at once, like conceptions : that is to say, as repre 
sentatives of conceptions, but which are quite adequate to those 
conceptions, as I have explained in 28. 

2 Aristot. " Metaph." i. 6, with which compare x. 1. "Further, says 
he, besides things sensible and the ideas, there are things mathematical 
coming in between the two, which differ from the things sensible, inas 
much as they are eternal and immovable, and from the ideas, inasmuch 
as many of them are like each other; but the idea is absolutely and 
only one." (Tr. s Add.) 

* " In these it is equality that constitutes unity." (Tr. s Add.) 


to numbers, even this distinction of juxtaposition no longer 
exists. Here, as with conceptions, absolutely nothing but the 
identitas indiscernibilium remains : for there is but one five 
and one seven. And in this we may perhaps also find a reason 
why 7 + 5 = 12 is a synthetical proposition a priori, 
founded upon intuition, as Kant profoundly discovered, 
and not an identical one, as it is called by Herder in his 
" Metakritik " . 12 = 12 is an identical proposition. 

In Geometry, it is therefore only in dealing with axioms 
that we appeal to intuition. All the other theorems are 
demonstrated : that is to say, a reason of knowing is given, 
the truth of which everyone is bound to acknowledge. 
The logical truth of the theorem is thus shown, but not its 
transcendental truth (v. 30 and 32), which, as it lies in 
the reason of being and not in the reason of knoivvng, 
never can become evident excepting by means of intuition. 
This explains why this sort of geometrical demonstration, 
while it no doubt conveys the conviction that the theorem 
which has been demonstrated is true, nevertheless gives no 
insight as to why that which it asserts is what it is. In 
other words, we have not found its Reason of Being ; but 
the desire to find it is usually then thoroughly roused. 
For proof by indicating the reason of knowledge only 
effects conviction (convictio), not knowledge (cognitio) : there 
fore it might perhaps be more correctly called elenchus 
than demonstratio. This is why, in most cases, therefore, it 
leaves behind it that disagreeable feeling which is given 
by all want of insight, when perceived ; and here, the 
want of knowledge why a thing is as it is, makes itself all 
the more keenly felt, because of the certainty just attained, 
that it is as it is. This impression is very much like the 
feeling we have, when something has been conjured into or 
out of our pocket, and we cannot conceive how. The 
reason of knowing which, in such demonstrations as 
these, is given without the reason of being, resembles 


certain physical theories, which present the phenomenon 
without being able to indicate its cause: for instance, 
Leidenfrost s experiment, inasmuch as it succeeds also in a 
platina crucible ; whereas the reason of being of a geo 
metrical proposition which is discovered by intuition, like 
every knowledge we acquire, produces satisfaction. When 
once the reason of being is found, we base our conviction 
of the truth of the theorem upon that reason alone, and no 
longer upon the reason of knowing given us by the demon 
stration. Let us, for instance, take the sixth proposition 
of the first Book of Euclid : 

"If two angles of a triangle are equal, the sides also 

which subtend, or are opposite to, the equal angles shall 
be equal to one another." (See fig. 3.) 
Which Euclid demonstrates as follows : 
" Let a b c be a triangle having the angle a b c equal to 
the angle a c b, then the side a c must be equal to the side 
a b also. 

" For, if side a b be not equal to side a c, one of them is 
greater than the other. Let a b be greater than a c ; and 
from b a cut off b d equal to c a, and draw d c. Then, in the 
triangles d b c, a b c, because d b is equal to a c, and b c is 
common to both triangles, the two sides d b and b c are 
equal to the two sides a c, a b, each to each ; and the angle 
d b c is equal to the angle a c b, therefore the base d c is 
equal to the base a b, and the triangle d b c is equal to the 


triangle a be, the less triangle equal to the greater, which 
is absurd. Therefore a b is not unequal to a c, that is, a b 
is equal to a c" 

Now, in this demonstration we have a reason of know 
ing for the truth of the proposition. But who bases his 
conviction of that geometrical truth upon this proof? 
Do we not rather base our conviction upon the reason of 
being, which we know intuitively, and according to which 
(by a necessity which admits of no further demonstration, 
but only of evidence through intuition) two lines drawn 
from both extreme ends of another line, and inclining 
equally towards each other, can only meet at a point which 
is equally distant from both extremities ; since the two 
arising angles are properly but one, to which the opposite- 
ness of position gives the appearance of being two ; where 
fore there is no reason why the lines should meet at any 
point nearer to the one end than to the other. 

It is the knowledge of the reason of being which shows 
us the necessary consequence of the conditioned from its 
condition in this instance, the lateral equality from the 
angular equality that is, it shows their connection ; whereas 
the reason of knowing only shows their coexistence. Nay, 
we might even maintain that the usual method of proving 
merely convinces us of their coexistence in the actual 
figure given us as an example, but by no means that 
they are always coexistent ; for, as the necessary con 
nection is not shown, the conviction we acquire of this 
truth rests simply upon induction, and is based upon 
the fact, that we find it is so in every figure we make. 
The reason of being is certainly not as evident in all cases 
as it is in simple theorems like this 6th one of Euclid ; 
still I am persuaded that it might be brought to evidence in 
every theorem, however complicated, and that the proposi 
tion can always be reduced to some such simple intuition. 
Besides, we are all just as conscious a priori of the necessity 




[CHAP. vi. 

of such a reason of being for each relation of Space, as we are 
of the necessity of a cause for each change. In complicated 
theorems it will, of course, be very difficult to show that 
reason of being ; and this is not the place for difficult geo 
metrical researches. Therefore, to make my meaning some 
what clearer, I will now try to bring back to its reason of 
being a moderately complicated proposition, in which 
nevertheless that reason is not immediately evident. 
Passing over the intermediate theorems, I take the 16th : 

" In every triangle in which one side has been produced, 
the exterior angle is greater than either of the interior 
opposite angles." 

This Euclid demonstrates in the following manner (see 
fig. 4) :- 

" Let a b c be a triangle ; and let the side I c be produced 
to d ; then the exterior angle a c d shall be greater than 
either of the interior opposite angles bacorcba. Bisect the 
side a c at e, and join b e ; produce b e to /, making e f 
equal to e b, and join / c. Produce a c to g. Because a e 
is equal to e c, and be to e f ; the two sides a e, e b, are 
equal to the two sides c e, e f, each to each ; and the angle 
a e b is equal to the angle c e f, because they are opposite 
vertical angles ; therefore the base a b is equal to the base 
e f, and the triangle a e b is equal to the triangle c e f, and 
tiie remaining angles of one triangle to the remaining angles 


of tlie other, each to each, to which the equal sides are 
opposite ; therefore the angle I a e is equal to the angle 
e c f. But the angle e c d is greater than the angle e c / 
Therefore the angle a c d is greater than the angle a b c" 

" In the same manner, if the side b c be bisected, and the 
side a c be produced to g, it may be demonstrated that the 
angle beg, that is, the opposite vertical angle a c d is 
greater than the angle ab e." 

My demonstration of the same proposition would be as 
follows (see fig. 5) : 

For the angle b a c to be even equal to, let alone greater 
than, the angle a c d, the line b a toward c a would have to 
lie in the same direction as b d (for this is precisely what 
is meant by equality of the angles), i.e., it must be parallel 

Fig. 5. 

with b d ; that is to say, b a and b d must never meet ; but 
in order to form a triangle they must meet (reason of 
being), and must thus do the contrary of that which would 
be required for the angle b a c to be of the same size as 
the angle a c d. 

For the angle a b c to be even equal to, let alone greater 
than, the angle a c d, line b a must lie in the same direction 
towards b d as a c (for this is what is meant by equality of 
the angles), i.e., it must be parallel with a c, that is to say, 
b a and a c must never meet ; but in order to form a triangle 
b a and a c must meet and must thus do the contrary of 
that which would be required for the angle a b c to be 
of the same size as a c d. 

By all this I do not mean to suggest the introduction of 



[CHAP. vi. 

a new method of mathematical demonstration, nor the 
substitution of my own proof for that of Euclid, for which 
its whole nature unfits it, as well as the fact that it pre 
supposes the conception of parallel lines, which in Euclid 
comes much later. I merely wished to show what the 
reason of being is, and wherein lies the difference between 
it and the reason of knowing, which latter only effects con- 
victio, a thing that differs entirely from insight into the 
reason of being. The fact that Geometry only aims at 
effecting convictio, and that this, as I have said, leaves 
behind it a disagreeable impression, but gives no insight 
into the reason of being which insight, like all knowledge, 

Fig. 6. 

is satisfactory and pleasing may perhaps be one of the 
reasons for the great dislike which many otherwise eminent 
heads have for mathematics. 

I cannot resist again giving fig. 6, although it has already 
been presented elsewhere ; because the mere sight of it 
without words conveys ten times more persuasion of the 
truth of the Pythagorean theorem than Euclid s mouse 
trap demonstration. 

Those readers for whom this chapter may have a special 
interest will find the subject of it more fully treated in my 
chief work, " Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung," vol. i. 
15 ; vol. ii. chap. 13. 



40. General Explanation. 

THE last Class of Objects for our representative faculty 
which remains to be examined is a peculiar but 
highly important one. It comprises but one object for 
each individual: that is, the immediate object of the inner 
sense, the Subject in volition, which is Object for the Know 
ing Subject ; wherefore it manifests itself in Time alone, 
never in Space, and as we shall see, even in Time under an 
important restriction. 

41. Subject of Knowledge and Object. 

All knowledge presupposes Subject and Object. Even 
self-consciousness (Selbstbewusstsein) therefore is not abso 
lutely simple, but, like our consciousness of all other 
things (i.e., the faculty of perception), it is subdivided into 
that which is known and that which knows. Now, that 
which is known manifests itself absolutely and exclusively 
as Will. 

The Subject accordingly knows itself exclusively as 
willing, but not as knowing. For the ego which repre 
sents, never can itself become representation or Object, 
since it conditions all representations as their necessary 


correlate ; rather may the following beautiful passage 
from the Sacred Upanishad be applied to it : Id videndum 
non est : omnia videt ; et id audiendum non est : omnia 
audit ; sciendum non est : omnia scit : et intelligendum non 
est : omnia intelligit. Prceter id, videns, et sciens, et 
audiens, et intelligens ens aliud non est. 1 

There can therefore be no knowledge of knowing, because 
this would imply separation of the Subject from knowing, 
while it nevertheless knew that knowing which ia im 

My answer to the objection, "I not only know, but 
know also that I know," would be, " Your knowing that 
you know only differs in words from your knowing. I 
know that I know means nothing more than I know, 
and this again, unless it is further determined, means 
nothing more than ego. y If your knowing and your 
knowing that you know are two different things, just try 
to separate them, and first to know without knowing that 
you know, then to know that you know without this 
knowledge being at the same time knowing." No doubt, 
by leaving all special knowing out of the question, we may 
at last arrive at the proposition " I know " the last ab 
straction we are able to make ; but this proposition is 
identical with " Objects exist for me," and this again is 
identical with " I am Subject," in which nothing more is 
contained than in the bare word " I." 

Now, it may still be asked how the various cognitive 
faculties belonging to the Subject, such as Sensibility, 
Understanding, Reason, are known to us, if we do not 
know the Subject. It is not through our knowing having 
become an Object for us that these faculties are known to 
us, for then there would not be so many conflicting judg 
ments concerning them ; they are inferred rather, or 

1 " Oupnekhat," vol. i. p. 202. 


more correctly, they are general expressions for the esta 
blished classes of representations which, at all times, have 
been more or less clearly distinguished in those cognitive 
faculties. But, with reference to the necessary correlate 
of these representations as their condition, i.e., the Sub 
ject, these faculties are abstracted from them (the repre 
sentations), and stand consequently towards the classes 
of representations in precisely the same relation as the 
Subject in general towards the Object in general. Now, 
just as the Object is at once posited with the Subject (for 
the word itself would otherwise have no meaning), and 
conversely, as the Subject is at once posited with the 
Object so that being the Subject means exactly as much 
as having an Object, and being an Object means the same 
thing as being known by the Subject so likewise, when 
an Object is assumed as being determined in any par 
ticular way, do we also assume that the Subject knows 
precisely in that particular way. So far therefore it is 
immaterial whether we say that Objects have such and 
such peculiar inherent determinations, or that the Subject 
knows in such and such ways. It is indifferent whether 
we say that Objects are divided into such and such classes, 
or that such and such different cognitive faculties are 
peculiar to the Subject. In that singular compound of 
depth and superficiality, Aristotle, are to be found traces 
even of insight into this truth, and indeed the critical 
philosophy lies in embryo in his works. He says : l 
/ <u\>) TO. OVTO. TTWC tan itcLVTO. (anima quammodo est uni- 
versa, quce sunt). And again: 6 VOVQ eari tifiog eidtiv, i.e., 
the understanding is the form of forms, KO.I rj aiadrja-ic 
tiSog aiffdrjTwv, and sensibility the form of sensuous 
objects. Accordingly, it is all one whether we say, " sen 
sibility and understanding are no more ; " or, " the world is 

1 Aristot., " De anima," iii. 8. " In a certain sense the intellect is all 
that exists." (Tr. s Add.) 


at an end." It comes to the same thing whether we say, 
" There are no conceptions," or " Reason is gone and 
animals alone remain." 

The dispute between Realism and Idealism, which ap 
peared for the last time in the dispute between the Dog 
matists and Kantians, or between Ontology and Meta 
physics on the one hand and Transcendental JEsthetic 
and Transcendental Logic on the other, arose out of the 
misapprehension of this relation and was based upon its 
misapprehension with reference to the First and Third 
Classes of representations as established by me, just as 
the mediaeval dispute between Realists and Nominalists 
rested upon the misapprehension of this relation with 
reference to the Second Class. 

42. The Subject of Volition. 

According to what has preceded, the Subject of know 
ledge can never be known ; it can never become Object or 
representation. Nevertheless, as we have not only an 
outer self-knowledge (in sensuous perception), but an inner 
one also ; and as, on the other hand, every knowledge, by 
its very nature, presupposes a knower and a known, what 
is known within us as such, is not the knower, but the 
wilier, the Subject of Volition : the Will. Starting from 
knowledge, we may assert that " I know" is an analytical, 
" I will," on the contrary, a synthetical, and moreover an 
a posteriori proposition, that is, it is given by experience 
in this case by inner experience (i.e., in Time alone). In 
so far therefore the Subject of volition would be an 
Object for us. Introspection always shows us to ourselves 
as willing. In this willing, however, there are numerous 
degrees, from the faintest wish to passion, and I have 
often shown * that not only all our emotions, but even all 

1 See "Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik," p. 11, and in several 
other places. 


those movements of our inner man, which are subsumed 
under the wide conception of feeling, are states of the 

Now, the identity of the willing with the knowing Sub 
ject, in virtue of which the word " I " includes and desig 
nates both, is the nodus 1 of the Universe, and therefore 
inexplicable. For we can only comprehend relations be 
tween Objects ;,but two Objects never can be one, except 
ing as parts of a whole. Here, where the Subject is in 
question, the rules by which we know Objects are no longer 
applicable, and actual identity of the knower with what is 
known as willing that is, of Subject and Object is imme 
diately given. Now, whoever has clearly realized the utter 
impossibility of explaining this identity, will surely concur 
with me in calling it the miracle KUT t&yyv. 

Just as the Understanding is the subjective correlate 
to our First Class of representations, the Reason to the 
Second, and pure Sensibility to the Third, so do we find 
that the correlate to this Fourth Class is the inner sense, 
or Self-consciousness in general. 

43. Willing. The Law of Motives (Motivation). 

It is just because the willing Subject is immediately 
given in self-consciousness, that we are unable further to 
define or to describe what willing is ; properly speaking, it 
is the most direct knowledge we have, nay, one whose im- 
mediateness must finally throw light upon every other 
knowledge, as being very mediate. 

At every resolution that we take ourselves, or that we 
Bee others take, we deem ourselves justified in asking, 
why ? That is, we assume that something must have pre 
viously occurred, from which this resolution has resulted, 

1 Weltlcnotcn. 


and we call this something its reason, or, more correctly, the 
motive of the action which now follows. Without such a 
reason or motive, the action is just as inconceivable for us, 
as the movement of a lifeless body without being pushed or 
pulled. Motives therefore belong to causes, and have also 
been already numbered and characterized among them in 
20, as the third form of Causality. But all Causality 
is only the form of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in 
the First Class of Objects : that is, in the corporeal world 
given us in external perception. There it forms the link 
which connects changes one with another, the cause 
being that which, coming from outside, conditions each 
occurrence. The inner nature of such occurrences on the 
contrary continues to be a mystery for us : for we always 
remain on the outside. We certainly see this cause neces 
sarily produce that effect ; but we do not learn how it is 
actually enabled to do so, or what is going on inside. 
Thus we see mechanical, physical, chemical effects, as 
well as those brought about by stimuli, in each in 
stance follow from their respective causes without on 
that account ever completely understanding the process, 
the essential part of which remains a mystery for us; 
so we attribute it to qualities of bodies, to forces of 
Nature, or to vital energy, which, however, are all quali- 
tates occultce. Nor should we be at all better off as to 
comprehension of the movements and actions of animals 
and of human beings, which would also appear to us 
as induced in some unaccountable way by their causes 
(motives), were it not that here we are granted an insight 
into the inward part of the process ; we know, that is, by 
our own inward experience, that this is an act of the will 
called forth by the motive, which consists in a mere re 
presentation. Thus the effect produced by the motive, un 
like that produced by all other causes, is not only known 
by us from outside, in a merely indirect way, but at the 


same time from inside, quite directly, and therefore accord 
ing to its whole mode of action. Here we stand as it were 
behind the scenes, and learn the secret of the process by 
which cause produces effect in its most inward nature ; for 
here our knowledge comes to us through a totally different 
channel and in a totally different way. From this results 
the important proposition : The action of motives (motiva 
tion) is causality seen from within. Here accordingly 
causality presents itself in quite a different way, in quite 
a different medium, and for quite another kind of know 
ledge ; therefore it must now be exhibited as a special and 
peculiar form of our principle, which consequently here 
presents itself as the Principle of the Sufficient Eeason of 
Acting, principium rationis sufficients agendi, or, more 
briefly, as the Law of Motives (Law of Motivation). 

As a clue to my philosophy in general, I here add, that 
this Fourth Class of Objects for the Subject, that is, the 
one object contained in it, the will which we apprehend 
within us, stands in the same relation towards the First 
Class as the law of motives towards the law of causality, as 
I have established it in 20. This truth is the corner 
stone of my whole Metaphysic. 

As to the way in which, and the necessity with which, 
motives act, and as to the dependence of their action upon 
empirical, individual character, and even upon individual 
capacity for knowledge, &c. &c., I refer my readers to my 
Prize-essay on the Freedom of the Will, in which I have 
treated all this more fully. 

44. Influence of the Will over the Intellect. 

It is not upon causality proper, but upon the identity of 
the knowing with the willing Subject, as shown in 42, 
that the influence is based, which the will exercises over 


the intellect, when it obliges it to repeat representations 
that have once been present to it, and in general to turn 
its attention in this or that direction and evoke at plea 
sure any particular series of thoughts. And even in this, 
the will is determined by the law of motives, in accordance 
with which it also secretly rules what is called the associa 
tion of ideas, to which I have devoted a separate chapter 
(the 14th) in the second volume of my chief work. This 
association of ideas is itself nothing but the application of 
the Principle of Sufficient Reason in its four forms to the 
subjective train of thought ; that is, to the presence of re 
presentations in our consciousness. But it is the will of 
the individual that sets the whole mechanism in motion, 
by urging the intellect, in accordance with the interest, i.e., 
the individual aims, of the person, to recall, together with 
its present representations, those which either logically or 
analogically, or by proximity in Time or Space, are nearly 
related to them. The will s activity in this, however, is so 
immediate, that in most cases we have no clear conscious 
ness of it ; and so rapid, that we are at times even uncon 
scious of the occasion which has thus called forth a repre 
sentation. In such cases, it appears as if something had 
come into our consciousness quite independently of all con 
nection with anything else ; that this, however, is impos 
sible, is precisely the Root of the Principle of Sufficient 
Reason, which has been fully explained in the above-men 
tioned chapter of my chief work. 1 Every picture which 
suddenly presents itself to our imagination, every judg 
ment even that does not follow its previously present 
reason, must be called forth by an act of volition having a 
motive ; although that motive may often escape our percep 
tion owing to its insignificance, and although such acts of 
volition are often in like manner unperceived, because they 

1 See " Die Welt, a. W. u. V." vol. ii. ch. XIY. 


take place BO easily, that wish and fulfilment are simul 

45. Memory. 

That peculiar faculty of the knowing Subject which 
enables it to obey the will the more readily in repeating 
representations, the of tener they have already been present 
to it in other words, its capacity for being exercised is 
what we call Memory. I cannot agree with the customary 
view, by which it is looked upon as a sort of store-house 
in which we keep a stock of ready-made representations 
always at our disposal, only without being always con 
scious of their possession. The voluntary repetition of re 
presentations which have once been present becomes so 
easy through practice, that one link in a series of represen 
tations no sooner becomes present to us, than we at once 
evoke all the rest, often even, as it were, involuntarily. If 
we were to look for a metaphor for this characteristic 
quality of our representative faculty (such as that of Plato, 
who compared it with a soft mass that receives and retains 
impressions), I think the best would be that of a piece of 
drapery, which, after having been repeatedly folded in the 
same folds, at last falls into them, as it were, of its own 
accord. The body learns by practice to obey the will, and 
the faculty of representing does precisely the same. A re 
membrance is not by any means, as the usual view sup 
poses, always the same representation which is, as it were, 
fetched over and over again from its store-house ; a new 
one, on the contrary, arises each time, only practice makes 
this especially easy. Thus it comes to pass that pictures 
of our imagination, which we fancy we have stowed away 
in our memory, become imperceptibly modified: a thing 
which we realize when we see some familiar object again 
after a long time, and find that it no longer completely 
corresponds to the image we bring with us. This could 


not be if we retained ready-made representations. It is 
just for this reason too, that acquired knowledge, if left 
unexercised, gradually fades from our memory, precisely 
because it was the result of practice coming from habit 
and knack ; thus most scholars, for instance, forget their 
Greek, and most artists their Italian on their return from 
Italy. This is also why we find so much difficulty in re- 
calling to mind a name or a line of poetry formerly familiar 
to us, when we have ceased to think of it for several years ; 
whereas when once we succeed in remembering it, we have 
it again at our disposal for some time, because the practice 
has been renewed. Everyone therefore who knows several 
languages, will do well to make a point of reading occa 
sionally in each, that he may ensure to himself their 

This likewise explains why the surroundings and events 
of our childhood impress themselves so deeply on our 
memory ; it is because, in childhood we have but few, and 
those chiefly intuitive, representations : so that we are in 
duced to repeat them constantly for the sake of occupation. 
People who have little capability for original thought do 
this all their lives (and moreover not only with intuitive 
representations, but with conceptions and words also) ; 
sometimes therefore they have remarkably good memories, 
when obtuseness and sluggishness of intellect do not act as 
impediments. Men of genius, on the contrary, are not 
always endowed with the best of memories, as, for instance, 
Eousseau has told us of himself. Perhaps this may be 
accounted for by their great abundance of new thoughts 
and combinations, which leaves them no time for frequent 
repetition. Still, on the whole, gemus is seldom found 
with a very bad memory ; because here a greater energy 
and mobility of the whole thinking faculty makes up for 
the want of constant practice. Nor must we forget that 
Mnemosyne was the mother of the Muses. We may ac- 


cordingly say, that our memory stands under two contend 
ing influences, that of the energy of the representative 
faculty on the one hand, and that of the quantity of repre 
sentations occupying that faculty on the other. The less 
energy there is in the faculty, the fewer must be the repre 
sentations, and conversely. This explains the impaired 
memory of habitual novel-readers, for it is with them as 
with men of genius : the multitude of representations fol 
lowing rapidly upon each other, leaves no time or patience 
for repetition and practice ; only, in novels, these repre 
sentations are not the readers own, but other people s 
thoughts and combinations quickly succeeding each other, 
and the readers themselves are wanting in that which, in 
genius, counterbalances repetition. The whole thing be 
sides is subject to the corrective, that we all have most 
memory for that which interests us, and least for that which 
does not. Great minds therefore are apt to forget in an 
incredibly short time the petty affairs and trifling occur 
rences of daily life and the commonplace people with whom 
they come in contact, whereas they have a wonderful recol 
lection of those things which have importance in them 
selves and for them. 

It is, however, on the whole, easy to understand that 
we should more readily remember such series of represen 
tations as are connected together by the thread of one 
or more of the above-mentioned species of reasons and 
consequences, than such as have no connection with one 
another, but only with our will according to the law of 
motives ; that is to say, those which are arbitrarily 
grouped. For, in the former, the fact that we know the 
formal part a priori, saves us half the trouble ; and this 
probably gave rise to Plato s doctrine, that all learning is 
mere remembering. 

As far as possible we ought to try and reduce all that we 
wish to incorporate in our memory to a perceptible image, 


either directly, or as an example, a mere simile, or an ana 
logue, or indeed in any other way ; because intuitive per 
ceptions take a far firmer hold than any abstract thoughts, 
let alone mere words. This is why we remember things we 
have ourselves experienced so much better than those of 
which we read. 



46. The Systertiatic Order. 

THE order of succession in which I have stated the 
various forms of the Principle of Sufficient Eeason in 
this treatise, is not systematic ; it has been chosen for the 
sake of greater clearness, in order first to present what is 
better known and least presupposes the rest. In this I 
have followed Aristotle s rule : rai ^uaflr/o-fwe OVK euro TOV 
, KCU TtJQ TOV Trpdy/LiaTOG apyjig evioTe apKriov, d\\ odev 
j-ddot (et doctrina non a primo, ac reiprincipio ali- 
quando inchoanda est, sed unde quis facilius discat). 1 But 
the systematic order in which the different classes of reasons 
ought to follow one another is the following. First of all 
should come The Principle of Sufficient Eeason of Being ; 
and in this again first its application to Time, as being the 
simple schema containing only what is essential in all the 
other forms of the Principle of Sufficient Eeason, nay, as 
being the prototype of all finitude. The Eeason of Being 
in Space having next been stated, the Law of Causality 
would then follow ; after which would come the Law of 
Motives, and last of all the Principle of Sufficient Eeason 
of Knowing ; for the other classes of reasons refer to imme- 

1 Aristot. "Metaph." iv. 1. "Sometimes too, learning must start, 
not from what is really first and with the actual beginning of the thing 
concerned, but from where it is easiest to learn." [Tr. s add.] 



diate representations, whereas this last class refers to 
representations derived from other representations. 

The truth expressed above, that Time is the simple schema 
which merely contains the essential part of all the forms of 
the Principle of Sufficient Eeason, explains the absolutely 
perfect clearness and precision of Arithmetic, a point in 
which no other science can compete with it. For all sciences, 
being throughout combinations of reasons and consequences, 
are based upon the Principle of Sufficient Eeason. Now, the 
series of numbers is the simple and only series of reasons 
and consequences of Being in Time ; on account of this 
perfect simplicity nothing being omitted, no indefinite 
relations left this series leaves nothing to be desired as re 
gards accuracy, apodeictic certainty and clearness. All the 
other sciences yield precedence in this respect to Arithmetic ; 
even G-eometry : because so many relations arise out of the 
three dimensions of Space, that a comprehensive synopsis 
of them becomes too difficult, not only for pure, but even 
for empirical intuition ; complicated geometrical problems 
are therefore only solved by calculation ; that is, Geo 
metry is quick to resolve itself into Arithmetic. It is not 
necessary to point out the existence of sundry elements of 
obscurity in the other sciences. 

47. Relation in Time between Reason and Consequence. 

According to the laws of causality and of motivation, a 
reason must precede its consequence in Time. That this is 
absolutely essential, I have shown in my chief work, to 
which I here refer my readers * in order to avoid repeating 
myself. Therefore, if we only bear in mind that it is 
not one thing which is the cause of another thing, but 
one state which is the cause of another state, we shall not 

1 See "Die Welt a. W. u. V.," vol. ii. ch. iv. p. 41, 42 of the 2nd 
edition, and p. 44 of the 3rd. 


allow ourselves to be misled by examples like that given 
by Kant, 1 that the stove, which is the cause of the 
warmth of the room, is simultaneous with its effect. The 
state of the stove : that is, its being warmer than its sur 
rounding medium, must precede the communication of its 
surplus caloric to that medium ; now, as each layer of air 
on becoming warm makes way for a cooler layer rushing 
in, the first state, the cause, and consequently also the 
second, the effect, are renewed until at last the temperature 
of stove and room become equalized. Here therefore we 
have no permanent cause (the stove) and permanent effect 
(the warmth of the room) as simultaneous things, but a 
chain of changes ; that is, a constant renewing of two states, 
one of which is the effect of the other. From this example, 
however, it is obvious that even Kant s conception of 
Causality was far from clear. 

On the other hand, the Principle of Sufficient Eeason of 
Knowing conveys with it no relation in Time, but merely 
a relation for our Eeason : here therefore, before and after 
have no meaning. 

In the Principle of Sufficient Eeason of Being, so far 
as it is valid in Geometry, there is likewise no relation in 
Time, but only a relation in Space, of which we might say 
that all things were co-existent, if here the words co 
existence and succession had any meaning. In Arithmetic, 
on the contrary, the Eeason of Being is nothing else but 
precisely the relation of Time itself. 

48. Reciprocity of Reasons. 

Hypothetical judgments may be founded upon the 
Principle of Sufficient Eeason in each of its significations, as 

1 Kant, Krit. d. r. Vern.," 1st edition, p. 202 j 5th edition, p. 248 
(English translation by M. Muller, p. 177.) 


indeed every hypothetical judgment is ultimately based 
upon that principle, and here the laws of hypothetical 
conclusions always hold good: that is to say, it is right 
to infer the existence of the consequence from the existence 
of the reason, and the non-existence of the reason from 
the non-existence of the consequence ; but it is wrong to 
infer the non-existence of the consequence from the non- 
existence of the reason, and the existence of the reason 
from the existence of the consequence. Now it is singular 
that in Geometry we are nevertheless nearly always able 
to infer the existence of the reason from the existence 
of the consequence, and the non-existence of the conse 
quence from the non-existence of the reason. This pro 
ceeds, as I have shown in 37, from the fact that, as each 
line determines the position of the rest, it is quite indiffe 
rent which we begin at : that is, which we consider as the 
reason, and which as the consequence. We may easily 
convince ourselves of this by going through the whole of 
the geometrical theorems. It is only where we have to do 
not only with figures, i.e., with the positions of lines, but 
with planes independently of figures, that we find it in 
most cases impossible to infer the existence of the reason 
from the existence of the consequence, or, in other words, 
to convert the propositions by making the condition the 
conditioned. The following theorem gives an instance of 
this : Triangles whose lengths and bases are equal, include 
equal areas. This cannot be converted as follows : Triangles 
whose areas are equal, have likewise equal bases and 
lengths ; for the lengths may stand in inverse proportion 
to the bases. 

In 20 it has already been shown, that the law of 
causality does not admit of reciprocity, since the effect 
never can be the cause of its cause ; therefore the concep 
tion of reciprocity is, in its right sense, inadmissible. 
Reciprocity, according to the Principle of Sufficient Reason 


of knowing, would only be possible between equivalent 
conceptions, since the spheres of these alone cover each 
other mutually. Apart from these, it only gives rise to a 
vicious circle. 

49. Necessity. 

The Principle of Sufficient Reason in all its forms is the 
sole principle and the sole support of all necessity. For 
necessity has no other true and distinct meaning than that 
of the infallibility of the consequence when the reason is 
posited. Accordingly every necessity is conditioned : abso 
lute, i.e., unconditioned, necessity therefore is a contradicto 
in adjecto. For to be necessary can never mean anything 
but to result from a given reason. By denning it as 
" wlmt cannot not be," on the other hand, we give a mere 
verbal definition, and screen ourselves behind an extremely 
abstract conception to avoid giving a definition of the 
thing. But it is not difficult to drive us from this refuge 
by inquiring how the non-existence of anything can be 
possible or even conceivable, since all existence is only 
given empirically. It then comes out, that it is only 
possible so far as some reason or other is posited or present, 
from which it follows. To be necessary and to follow from 
a given reason, are thus convertible conceptions, and may 
always, as such, be substituted one for the other. The 
conception of an " ABSOLUTELY necessary Being " which 
finds so much favour with pseudo-philosophers, contains 
therefore a contradiction : it annuls by the predicate 
"absolute" (i.e., "unconditioned by anything else") the 
only determination which makes the " necessary " con 
ceivable. Here again we have an instance of the improper use 
of abstract conceptions to play off a metaphysical artifice such 
as those I have already pointed out in the conceptions "im 
material substance" " cause in general" " absolute reason" 


&c. &c. 1 I can never insist too much upon all abstract 
conceptions being checked by perception. 

There exists accordingly a fourfold necessity, in con 
formity with the four forms of the Principle of Sufficient 
Reason : 

1. Logical necessity, according to the principle of sufficient 
reason of knowing, in virtue of which, when once we have 
admitted the premisses, we must absolutely admit the 

2. Physical necessity, according to the law of causality, 
in virtue of which, as soon as the cause presents itself, the 
effect must infallibly follow. 

3. Mathematical necessity, according to the principle of 
sufficient reason of being, in virtue of which, every relation 
which is stated in a true geometrical theorem, is as that 
theorem affirms it to be, and every correct calculation 
remains irrefutable. 

4. Moral necessity, in virtue of which, every human 
being, every animal even, is compelled, as soon as a motive 
presents itself, to do that which alone is in accordance 
with the inborn and immutable character of the individual. 
This action now follows its cause therefore as infallibly as 
every other effect, though it is less easy here to predict 
what that effect will be than in other cases, because of the 
difficulty we have in fathoming and completely knowing 
the individual empirical character and its allotted sphere 
of knowledge, which is indeed a very different thing from 
ascertaining the chemical properties of a neutral salt and 
predicting its reaction. I must repeat this again and 
again on account of the dunces and blockheads who, in 
defiance of the unanimous authority of so many great 

1 Compare "Die Welt a. W. u. V.,* vol. i. p. 551 et seq. of the 2nd 
edition (i. p. 582 et seq. of 3rd edition) as to " immaterial substance," 
and 52 of the present work as to " reason in general." (Editor s 


thinkers, still persist in audaciously maintaining the con 
trary, for the benefit of their old woman s philosophy. I 
am not a professor of philosophy, forsooth, that I need 
bow to the folly of others. 

50. Series of Reasons and Consequences. 

According to the law of causality, the condition is itself 
always conditioned, and, moreover, conditioned in the same 
way; therefore, there arises a series in infinitum a part e 
ante. It is just the same with the Reason of Being in 
Space : each relative space is a figure ; it has its limits, 
by which it is connected with another relative space, and 
which themselves condition the figure of this other, and so 
on throughout all dimensions in infinitum. But when we 
examine a single figure in itself, the series of reasons of 
being has an end, because we start from a given relation, 
just as the series of causes comes to an end if we stop at 
pleasure at any particular cause. In Time, the series of 
reasons of being has infinite extension both a parte ante, 
and a parte post, since each moment is conditioned by a 
preceding one, and necessarily gives rise to the following. 
Time has therefore neither beginning nor end. On the 
other hand, the series of reasons of knowledge that 
is, a series of judgments, each of which gives logical 
truth to the other always ends somewhere, i.e., either in 
an empirical, a transcendental, or a metalogical truth. If 
the reason of the major to which we have been led is an 
empirical truth, and we still continue asking why, it is no 
longer a reason of knowledge that is asked for, but a 
cause in other words, the series of reasons of knowing 
passes over into the series of reasons of becoming. But if 
we do the contrary, that is, if we allow the series of reasons 
of becoming to pass over into the series of reasons of 
knowing, in order to bring it to an end, this is never brought 


about by the nature of the thing, but always by a special 
purpose : it is therefore a trick, and this is the sophism known 
by the name of the Ontological Proof. For when a cause, at 
which it seems desirable to stop short in order to make it 
the first cause, has been reached by means of the Cosmo- 
logical Proof, we find out that the law of causality is not 
so easily brought to a standstill, and still persists in asking 
why : so it is simply set aside and the principle of sufficient 
reason of knowing, which from a distance resembles it, 
is substituted in its stead; and thus a reason of know 
ledge is given in the place of the cause which had been 
asked for a reason of knowledge derived from the concep 
tion itself which has to be demonstrated, the reality of 
which is therefore still problematical : and this reason, as 
after all it is one, now has to figure as a cause. Of course 
the conception itself has been previously arranged for this 
purpose, and reality slightly covered with a few husks just 
for decency s sake has been placed within it, so as to give 
the delightful surprise of finding it there as has been 
shown in Section 7. On the other hand, if a chain of 
j udgments ultimately rests upon a principle of transcen 
dental or of metalogical truth, and we still continue to ask 
why, we receive no answer at all, because the question has 
no meaning, i.e., it does not know what kind of reason it 
is asking for. 

For the Principle of Sufficient Reason is the principle of 
all explanation: to explain a thing means, to reduce its 
given existence or connection to some form or other of 
the Principle of Sufficient Reason, in accordance with which 
form that existence or connection necessarily is that which 
it is. The Principle of Sufficient Season itself, i.e., the 
connection expressed by it in any of its forms, cannot 
therefore be further explained; because there exists no 
principle by which to explain the source of all explanation : 
just as the eye is unable to see itself, though it sees every- 


thing else. There are of course series of motives, since 
the resolve to attain an end becomes the motive for the 
resolve to use a whole series of means ; still this series 
invariably ends a parte priori in a representation belonging 
to one of our two first classes, in which lies the motive 
which originally had the power to set this individual will 
in motion. The fact that it was able to do this, is a 
datum for knowing the empirical character here given, but 
it is impossible to answer the question why that particular 
motive acts upon that particular character; because the 
intelligible character lies outside Time and never becomes 
an Object. Therefore the series of motives, as such, finds its 
termination in some such final motive and, according to the 
nature of its last link, passes into the series of causes, or 
that of reasons of knowledge: that is to say, into the 
former, when that last link is a real object ; into the 
latter, when it is a mere conception. 

51. Each Science has for its Guiding Thread one of the 
Forms of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in preference 
to the others. 

As the question why always demands a sufficient reason, 
and as it is the connection of its notions according to the 
principle of sufficient reason which distinguishes science 
from a mere aggregate of notions, we have called that 
why the parent of all science (4). In each science, 
moreover, we find one of the forms of that principle 
predominating over the others as its guiding-thread. 
Thus in pure Mathematics the reason of being is the 
chief guiding-thread (although the exposition of the 
proofs proceeds according to the reason of knowing only) ; 
in applied Mathematics the law of causality appears 
together with it, but in Physics, Chemistry, Geology, &c., 
that law entirely predominates. The principle of sufficient 


reason in knowing finds vigorous application throughout 
all the sciences, for in all of them the particular is known 
through the general ; but in Botany, Zoology, Mineralogy, 
and other classifying sciences, it is the chief guide and 
predominates absolutely. The law of motives (motiva 
tion) is the chief guide in History, Politics, Pragmatic 
Psychology, &c. &c., when we consider all motives and 
maxims, whatever they may be, as data for explaining 
actions but when we make those motives and maxims the 
object-matter of investigation from the point of view of 
their value and origin, the law of motives becomes the 
guide to Ethics. In my chief work will be found the 
highest classification of the sciences according to this 
principle. 1 

52. Two principal Results. 

I have endeavoured in this treatise to show that the 
Principle of Sufficient Reason is a common expression for 
four completely different relations, each of which is founded 
upon a particular law given a priori (the principle of suffi 
cient reason being a synthetical a priori principle). Now, 
according to the principle of homogeneity, we are compelled 
to assume that these four laws, discovered according to the 
principle of specification, as they agree in being expressed 
by one and the same term, must necessarily spring from 
one and the same original quality of our whole cognitive 
faculty as their common root, which we should accordingly 
have to look upon as the innermost germ of all dependence, 
relativeness, instability and limitation of the objects of our 
consciousness itself limited to Sensibility, Understanding, 
E-eason, Subject and Object or of that world, which the 
divine Plato repeatedly degrades to the ael yiyvoptvov ptv 

1 " Die Welt a. W. u. V.," vol. ii. ch. 12, p. 126 of the 2nd edition 
(p. 139 of the 3rd edition). 


KCti arroXXviuerov, OVTUQ Se ov^iiroTE ov (ever arising and 
perishing, but in fact never existing), the knowledge of 
which is merely a oa per aiadi iffewg a Xoyov, and which 
Christendom, with a correct instinct, calls temporal, after 
that form of our principle (Time) which I have denned as 
its simplest schema and the prototype of all limitation. 
The general meaning of the Principle of Sufficient Reason 
may, in the main, be brought back to this : that every 
thing existing no matter when or where, exists ~by reason of 
something else. Now, the Principle of Sufficient Eeason is 
nevertheless a priori in all its forms : that is, it has its root 
in our intellect, therefore it must not be applied to the 
totality of existent things, the Universe, including that in 
tellect in which it presents itself. For a world like this, 
which presents itself in virtue of a priori forms, is just on 
that account mere phenomenon ; consequently that which 
holds good with reference to it as the result of these forms, 
cannot be applied to the world itself, i.e. to the thing in 
itself, representing itself in that world. Therefore we can 
not say, " the world and all things in it exist by reason of 
something else ; " and this proposition is precisely the Cos- 
mological Proof. 

If, by the present treatise, I have succeeded in deducing 
the result just expressed, it seems to me that every specu 
lative philosopher who founds a conclusion upon the Prin 
ciple of Sufficient Eeason or indeed talks of a reason at all, 
is bound to specify which kind of reason he means. One 
might suppose that wherever there was any question of a 
reason, this would be done as a matter of course, and that 
all confusion would thus be impossible. Only too often, 
however, do we still find either the terms reason and cause 
confounded in indiscriminate use; or do we hear basis and 
what is based, condition and what is conditioned, principia 
and principiata talked about in quite a general way without 
any nearer determination, perhaps because there is a secret 


consciousness that these conceptions are being used in an 
unauthorized way. Thus even Kant speaks of the thing 
in itself as the reason 1 of the phenomenon, and also of a 
ground of the possibility of all phenomena, 2 of an intelligible 
cause of phenomena, of an unknown ground of the possi 
bility of the sensuous series in general, of a transcendental 
object 3 as the ground of all phenomena and of the reason 
why our sensibility should have this rather than all other 
supreme conditions, and so on in several places. Now all 
this does not seem to me to tally with those weighty, pro 
found, nay immortal words of his, 4 " the contingency 5 of 
things is itself mere phenomenon, and can lead to no other 
than the empirical regressus which determines phenomena." 

That since Kant the conceptions reason and conse 
quence, principium and principiatum, &c. &c., have been 
and still are used in a yet more indefinite and even quite 
transcendent sense, everyone must know who is acquainted 
with the more recent works on philosophy. 

The following is my objection against this promiscuous 
employment of the word ground (reason) and, with it, of the 
Principle of Sufficient Keason in general ; it is likewise the 
second result, intimately connected with the first, which the 
present treatise gives concerning its subject-matter proper. 
The four laws of our cognitive faculty, of which the Prin- 

1 Or ground. 

a Kant, "Krit. d. r. Vern.," 1st edition, pp. 561, 562, 564; p. 590 of 
the 5th edition. (Pp. 483 to 486 of the English translation by M. 

3 Ibid. p. 540 of 1st edition, and 641 of 5th edition. (P. 466 of 
English translation.) 

4 Ibid. p. 563 of the 1st and 591 of the 5th edition. (P. 485 of 
English translation.) 

5 Empirical contingency is meant, which, with Kant, signifies as much 
as dependence upon other things. As to this, I refer my readers to my 
censure in my " Critique of Kantian Philosophy," p. 524 of the 2nd, 
and p. 552 of the 3rd edition. 


ciple of Sufficient Eeason is the common expression, by 
their common character as well as by the fact that all 
Objects for the Subject are divided amongst them, proclaim 
themselves to be posited by one and the same primary 
quality and inner peculiarity of our knowing faculty, which 
faculty manifests itself as Sensibility, Understanding, and 
Reason. Therefore, even if we imagined it to be possible 
for a new Fifth Class of Objects to come about, we should 
in that case likewise have to assume that the Principle of 
Sufficient Reason would appear in this class also under a 
different form. Notwithstanding all this, we still have no 
right to talk of an absolute reason (ground), nor does a 
reason in general, any more than a triangle in general, exist 
otherwise than as a conception derived by means of discur 
sive reflection, nor is this conception, as a representation 
drawn from other representations, anything more than a 
means of thinking several things in one. Now, just as 
every triangle must be either acute-angled, right-angled, 
or obtuse-angled, and either equilateral, isosceles or scalene, 
so also must every reason belong to one or other of the 
four possible kinds of reasons I have pointed out. More 
over, since we have only four well-distinguished Classes o 
Objects, every reason must also belong to one or other of 
these four, and no further Class being possible, Reason 
itself is forced to rank it within them ; for as soon as we 
employ a reason, we presuppose the Four Classes as well 
as the faculty of representing (i.e. the whole world), and 
must hold ourselves within these bounds, never transcend 
ing them. Should others, however, see this in a different 
light and opine that a reason in general is anything but a 
conception, derived from the four kinds of reasons, which 
expresses what they all have in common, we might revive 
the controversy of the Realists and Nominalists, and then 
I should side with the latter. 


C L. c^ -iU ^-C 


^W&4*f.> % 










Translated from the Fourth Edition published by JCLIUS FRAUENSTADT. 

Xoyotcrii/ iZ 

OVK r),iw(Tav ovci 7rpocr/3Aipai ro 
AAX* t/c^toa(T/ctt TrdvO o y^pda/caj 



TO my great joy I have lived to revise even this little 
work, after a lapse of nineteen years, and that joy is 
enhanced by the special importance of this treatise for my 
philosophy. For, starting from the purely empirical, from 
the observations of unbiassed physical investigators 
themselves following the clue of their own special sciences 
I here immediately arrive at the very kernel of my Meta- 
physic ; I establish its points of contact with the physical 
sciences and thus corroborate my fundamental dogma, in 
a sense, as the arithmetician proves a sum : for by this I 
not only confirm it more closely and specially, but even 
make it more clearly, easily, and rightly understood than 
anywhere else. 

The improvements in this new edition are confined almost 
entirely to the Additions ; for scarcely anything that is 
worth mentioning in the First Edition has been left out, 
while I have inserted many and, in some cases, important 
new passages. 

But, even in a general sense, it may be looked upon as a 
good sign, that a new edition of the present treatise should 
have been found necessary ; since it shows that there is an 
interest in serious philosophy and confirms the fact that 
the necessity for real progress in this direction is now more 
strongly felt than ever. This is based upon two circum 
stances. The first is the unparalleled zeal and activity 
displayed in every branch of Natural Science which, as 



this pursuit is mostly in the hands of people who have 
learned nothing else, threatens to lead to a gross, stupid 
Materialism, the more immediately offensive side of which 
is less the moral bestiality of its ultimate results, than the 
incredible absurdity of its first principles ; for by it even 
yital force is denied, and organic Nature is degraded to a 
mere chance play of chemical forces. 1 These knights of 
the crucible and retort should be made to understand, that 
the mere study of Chemistry qualifies a man to become an 
apothecary, but not a philosopher. Certain other like- 
minded investigators of Nature, too, must be taught, that 
a man may be an accomplished zoologist and have the 
sixty species of monkeys at his fingers ends, yet on the 
whole be an ignoramus to be classed with the vulgar, if he 
has learnt nothing else, save perhaps his school-catechism. 
But in our time this frequently happens. Men set them 
selves up for enlighteners of mankind, who have studied 
Chemistry, or Physics, or Mineralogy and nothing else 
under the sun ; to this they add their only knowledge of 
any other kind, that is to say, the little they may remember 
of the doctrines of the school-catechism, and when they 
find that these two elements will not harmonize, they 
straightway turn scoffers at religion and soon become 
shallow and absurd materialists. 2 They may perhaps have 
heard at college of the existence of a Plato and an Aristotle, 
of a Locke, and especially of a Kant ; but as these folk 
never handled crucibles and retorts or even stuffed a 

1 And this infatuation has reached sucli a point, that people seriously 
imagine themselves to have found the key to the mystery of the essence 
and existence of this wonderful and mysterious world in wretched 
chemical affinities! Compared with this illusion of our physiological 
chemists, that of the alchymists who sought after the philosopher s stone, 
and only hoped to find out the secret of making gold, was indeed a mere 
trifle. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 " Aut (xtfechisnws, Q&t materials mus," is their watchword. [Add. to 
3rd ed.] 


monkey, they do not esteem them worthy of further acquain 
tance. They prefer calmly to toss out of the window the 
intellectual labour of two thousand years and treat the 
public to a philosophy concocted out of their own rich 
mental resources, on the basis of the catechism on the one 
hand, and on that of crucibles and retorts or the catalogue 
of monkeys on the other. They ought to be told in plain 
language that they are ignoramuses, who have much to 
learn before they can be allowed to have any voice in the 
matter. Everyone, in fact, who dogmatizes at random, 
with the naive realism of a child on such arguments as 
G-od, the soul, the world s origin, atoms, &c. &c. &c., as if 
the Critique of Pure Reason had been written in the moon 
and no copy had found its way to our planet is simply one 
of the vulgar. Send him into the servants hall, where his 
wisdom will best find a market. 1 

The other circumstance which calls for a real progress 
in philosophy, is the steady growth of unbelief in the face 
of all the hypocritical dissembling and the outward con 
formity to the Church. This unbelief necessarily and un 
avoidably goes hand in hand with the growing expansion 
of empirical and historical knowledge. It threatens to 
destroy not only the form, but even the spirit of Christianity 
(a spirit which has a much wider reach than Christianity 
itself), and to deliver up mankind to moral materialism a 
thing even more dangerous than the chemical materialism 
already mentioned. And nothing plays more into the 
hands of this unbelief, than the Tartuffianism de rigueur 

1 There too he will meet with people who fling about words of foreign 
origin, which they have caught up without understanding them, just as 
readily as he does himself, when he talks about "Idealism" without 
knowing what it means, mostly therefore using the word instead of 
Spiritualism (which being Eealism, is the opposite to Idealism). Hundreds 
of examples of this kind besides other quid pro quos are to be found 
in books, and critical periodicals. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


impudently flaunting itself everywhere just now, whose 
clumsy disciples, fee in hand, hold forth with such unction 
and emphasis, that their voices penetrate even into learned, 
critical reviews issued by Academies and Universities, and 
into physiological as well as philosophical books, where 
however, being quite in their wrong place, they only damage 
their own cause by rousing indignation. 1 Under such cir 
cumstances as these, it is gratifying to see the public betray 
an interest in philosophy. 

I have nevertheless one sad piece of news to communi 
cate to our professors of philosophy. Their Caspar Hauser 
(according to Dorguth) whom they had so carefully 
secreted, so securely walled up for nearly forty years, that 
no sound could betray his existence to the world their 
Caspar Hauser I say, has escaped ! He has escaped and 
is running about in the world ; some even say he is 
a prince. In plain language, the misfortune they feared 
more than anything has come to pass after all. In spite of 
their having done their best to prevent it for more than a 
generation by acting with united force, with rare constancy, 
secreting and ignoring to a degree that is without example, 
my books are beginning and henceforth will continue to be 
read. Legor et legar : there is no help for it. This is 
really dreadful and most inopportune ; nay, it is a positive 
fatality, not to say calamity. Is this the recompense for 
all their faithful, snug secrecy; for having held so firmly 
and unitedly together ? Poor time-servers ! What becomes 
of Horace s assurance : 

" Est et fideli tuta silentio 
Merces, ? " 

For verily they have not been deficient in faithful reticence ; 
rather do they excel in this quality wherever they scent 

1 They ought everywhere to be shown that their belief is not believed 
in. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


merit. And, after all, it is no doubt the cleverest artifice ; 
for what no one knows, is as though it did not exist. 
Whether the merces will remain quite so tuta, seems rather 
doubtful unless we are to take merces in a lad sense ; and 
for this the support of many a classical authority might 
certainly be found. These gentlemen had seen quite rightly 
that the only means to be used against my writings, was 
to secrete them from the public by maintaining profound 
silence concerning them, while they kept up a loud noise at 
the birth of every misshapen offspring of professorial 
philosophy ; as the voice of the new-born Zeus was drowned 
in days of yore by the clashing of the cymbals of the 
Corybantes. But this expedient is now used up ; the 
secret is out the public has discovered me. The rage of 
our professors of philosophy at this is great, but powerless ; 
for their only effective resource, so long successfully em 
ployed, being exhausted, no snarling can avail any longer 
against my influence, and in vain do they now take this, or 
that, or the other attitude. They have certainly succeeded, 
so far as the generation which was properly speaking con 
temporaneous with my philosophy, went to the grave in 
ignorance of it. But this was a mere postponement, and 
Time has kept its word, as it always does. 

Now there are two reasons why these gentlemen " in 
the philosophical trade" as they call themselves with 
incredible naivete hate my philosophy. The first of 
them is, that my writings spoil the taste of the public for 
tissues of empty phrases, for accumulations of unmeaning 
words piled one upon another, for hollow, superficial, 
brain-racking twaddle, for Christian dogmatics under the 
disguise of the most wearisome Metaphysics, for sys 
tematized Philistinism of the flattest kind made to repre 
sent Ethics and even accompanied by instructions for 
card-playing and dancing in short, they unfit my readers 
for the whole method of philosophising a- la vwille 


has scared so many for ever from the puysnit of 

The second reason is, that our gentlemen " in the trade " 
are absolutely bound in conscience not to let my philosophy 
pass and are therefore debarred from using it for the 
benefit of " the trade ; " and this they even heartily regret ; 
for my abundance might have been admirably turned to 
account for the benefit of their own needy poverty. But 
even if it contained the greatest hoards of human wisdom 
ever unearthed, my doctrine could never find favour with 
them either now or in the future ; for it is absolutely 
wanting in all Speculative Theology and Eational Psycho 
logy, and these, just these, are the very breath of life to 
these gentlemen, the sine qua non of their existence. For 
they are anxious before all things in heaven and on earth, 
to hold their official appointments, and these appointments 
demand before all things in heaven and on earth a Specu 
lative Theology and a Eational Psychology : extra Twee non 
datur solus. Theology there must and shall be, no matter 
whence it come ; Moses and the Prophets must be made 
out to be in the right: this is the highest principle in 
philosophy ; and there must be Kational Psychology to 
boot, as is proper. Now there is nothing of the sort to be 
found either in Kant s philosophy or in mine. For, as 
we all know, the most cogent theological argumentation 
shivers to atoms like a glass thrown at a wall, when it is 
brought into contact with Kant s Critique of all Specula 
tive Theology, and under his hands not a shred remains 
entire of the whole tissue of Eational Psychology ! As to 
myself, being the bold continuer of Kant s philosophy, I 
have entirely done away with all Speculative Theology and 
all Eational Psychology, as is only consistent and honest. 1 
On the other hand, the task incumbent upon University 

1 For revelation goes for nothing in philosophy ; therefore a philo 
sopher must before all things be an unbeliever. [Add. to 3rd. ed.]. 


Philosophy is at "bottom this : to set forth the chief funda 
mental truths belonging to the Catechism under the veil 
of some very abstract, abstruse and difficult, therefore 
painfully wearisome formulas and sentences ; wherefore, 
however confused, intricate, strange and eccentric the 
matter may seem at first sight, these truths invariably 
reveal themselves as its kernel. This proceeding may be 
useful, though to me it is unknown. All I know is, that 
philosophy, i.e. the search after truth I mean the truth 
KCIT e^o^v, by which the most sublime and important dis 
closures, more precious than anything else to the human 
race, are understood will never advance a step, nay, an 
inch, by means of such manoeuvring, by which its course 
is on the contrary impeded ; therefore I found out long 
ago that University philosophy is the enemy of all genuine 
philosophy. Now, this being the state of the case, when a 
really honest philosophy arises, which seriously has truth 
for its sole aim, must not these gentlemen " of the philo 
sophical trade " feel as might stage-knights in paste-board 
armour, were a knight suddenly to appear in the midst of 
them clad in real armour, who made the stage-floor creak 
under his ponderous tread ? Such philosophy as this must 
therefore be bad and false and consequently places these 
gentlemen "of the trade " under the painful obligation of 
playing the part of him who, in order to appear what he 
is not, cannot allow others to pass for what they really are. 
Out of all this however there unrolls itself the amusing 
spectacle we enjoy, when these gentlemen, now that ignoring 
has unfortunately come to an end, after forty years, at 
last begin to measure me by their own puny standard and 
pass judgment upon me from the heights of their wisdom, 
as though they were amply qualified to do so by their 
office ; but they are most amusing of all when they assume 
airs of superiority towards me. 

Their abhorrence of Kant, though less op enly expressed, 


is scarcely less great than their hatred of me ; precisely 
because all speculative Theology and all Rational Psycho 
logy the bread-winners of these gentlemen have been 
undermined, not to say irrevocably ruined, by him in the 
eyes of all serious thinkers. What ! Not hate him ? him, 
who has made their " trade in philosophy " so difficult to 
them, that they hardly see how to pull through honourably ! 
So Kant and I are accordingly both bad, and these gentle 
men quite overlook us. For nearly forty years they have 
not deigned to cast a glance upon me, and now they look 
down condescendingly upon Kant from the heights of their 
wisdom, smiling in pity at his errors. This policy is both 
very wise and very profitable ; since they are thus able to 
hold forth at their ease volume after volume upon God 
and the soul, as if these were personalities with whom 
they were intimately acquainted, and to discourse upon the 
relation in which the former stands to the world and the 
latter to the body, just as if there had never been such a 
thing as a Critique of Pure Eeasoii. When once the 
Critique of Pure Reason is done away with, all will go on 
splendidly ! Now it is for this end that they have been 
endeavouring for many years quietly and gradually to set 
Kant aside, to make him obsolete, nay, to turn up their 
noses at him, and one being encouraged by the other in 
this, they are becoming bolder every day. 1 They have no 
opposition to fear from their own colleagues, since they all 
have the same aims and the same mission and all together 
form a numerous coterie, the brilliant members of which, 
cor am populo, bow and scrape to each other on all sides. 
Thus by degrees things have come to such a point, that 
the wretchedest compilers of manuals have the presumption 
to treat Kant s grand, immortal discoveries as antiquated 
errors, nay, calmly to set them aside with the most 

1 One always says the other is right, so that the public in its simplicity 
at last imagines them really to be right. [Add. to 3rd ed.j 


ludicrous arrogance and most impudent dicta of their own, 
which they nevertheless lay down under the disguise of 
argumentation, because they know they may count upon a 
credulous public, to whom Kant s writings are not known, 1 
And this is what happens to Kant on the part of writers, 
whose total incapacity strikes us in every page, not to 
say every line, we read of their unmeaning, stupefying 
verbiage ! Were this to go on much longer, Kant would 
present the spectacle of the dead lion being kicked by the 
donkey. Even in France there is no lack of fellow- workers 
inspired by a similar orthodoxy, who are labouring towards 
the same end. A certain M. Barthelemy de St. Hilaire, 
for instance, in a lecture delivered in the Academie des 
Sciences Morales in April, 1850, has presumed to criticize 
Kant with an air of condescension and to use most im 
proper language in speaking of him; luckily however in 
such a way, that no one could fail to see the underlying 
purpose. 2 

Now others among our German "traders in philosophy" 
again try to get rid of the obnoxious Kant in a different 
way : instead of attacking his philosophy point-blank, they 
rather seek to undermine the foundations on which it is 
built. These people however are so utterly forsaken by all 
the gods and by all power of judgment, that they attack 
a priori truths : that is to say, truths as old as the human 
understanding, nay, which constitute that understanding 

1 Here it is especially Ernst Reinhold s "System of Metaphysics" 
(3rd edition, 1854) that I have in my eye. In my " Parerga " I have 
explained how it comes, that brain-perverting books like this go through 
several editions. See "Parerga," vol. i. p. 171 (2nd edition, vol. i. 
p. 194). 

2 Nevertheless, by Zeus, all such gentlemen, in France as well as 
Germany, should be taught that Philosophy has a different mission from 
that of playing into the hands of the clergy. We must let them clearly 
see before all things that we have no faith in their faith from this 
follows what we think of them, [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


itself, and which it is therefore impossible to contradict 
without declaring war against that understanding also. 
So great however is the courage of these gentlemen. I am 
sorry to say I know of three, 1 and I am afraid there are a 
good many more at work at this undermining process, 
who have the incredible presumption to maintain the a 
posteriori origin of Space as a consequence, a mere rela 
tion, of the objects within it ; for they assert that Space 
and Time are of empirical origin and attached to those 
bodies, so that [according to them] Space first arises 
through our perception of the juxtaposition of bodies and 
Time likewise through our perception of the succession of 
changes (sancta simplicitas ! as if the words " collateral " 
and " successive " would have any sense for us without the 
antecedent intuitions of Space and of Time to give them a 
meaning) ; consequently, that if there were no bodies, there 
would be no Space, therefore if they disappeared Space 
also must lapse, and that if all changes were to stop, Time 
also would stop. 2 

And such stuff as this is gravely taught fifty years after 
Kant s death ! The aim of it is, as we know, to undermine 
Kantian philosophy, and certainly if these propositions 
were true, one stroke would suffice to overthrow it. For- 

1 (a) Eosenkranz, "Meine Keform der Hegelschen Philosophie," 1852, 
especially p. 41, in a pompous, dictatorial tone : " I have explicitly said, 
that Space and Time would not exist if Matter did not exist. JEther 
spread out within itself first constitutes real Space, and the movement 
of this sether and consequent real genesis of everything individual and 
separate, constitutes real Time." (6) L. Noaok, "Die Theologie als 
Keligionsphilosophie," 1853, pp. 8, 9. (c) V. Keuchlin-Meldegg. 
Two reviews of Oersted s " Geist in der Natur" in the Heidelberg 
Annals, Nov.-Dec., 1850, and May-June, 1854. 

2 Time is the condition of the possibility of succession, which could 
neither take place, nor be understood by us and expressed in words, 
without Time. And Space is likewise the condition of the possibility of 
juxtaposition, and Transcendental ^Esthetic is the proof that these con 
ditions have their seat in the constitution of our head. [Add. to 3rd e(L] 


innately however these assertions are of a kind which is 
met by derision rather than by serious refutation. For, in 
them, the question is one of heresy, not so much against 
Kantian philosophy, as against common sense ; and they 
are not so much an attack upon any particular philoso 
phical dogma, as upon an a priori truth which, as such, 
constitutes human understanding itself, and therefore 
must be instantaneously evident to every one who is in his 
senses, just as much as that 2x2 = 4. Fetch me a peasant 
from the plough ; make the question intelligible to him ; 
and he will tell you, that even if all things in Heaven and 
on Earth were to vanish, Space would nevertheless remain, 
and that if all changes in Heaven and on Earth were to 
cease, Time would nevertheless flow on. Compared with 
German pseudo-philosophers like these, how estimable 
does a man like the French physicist Pouillet appear, who, 
though he never troubles his head about Metaphysics, is 
careful to incorporate two long paragraphs, one on VEspace, 
the other on le Temps, in the first chapter of his well- 
known Manual, on which public instruction in France is 
based, where he shows that if all Matter were annihi 
lated, Space would still remain, and that Space is infinite ; 
and that if all changes ceased, Time would still pursue its 
course without end. Now here he does not appeal, as in 
all other cases, to experience, because in this case expe 
rience is not possible ; yet he speaks with apodeictic cer 
tainty. For, as a physicist, professing a science which is 
absolutely immanent i.e. limited to the reality that is 
empirically given it never comes into his head to inquire 
whence he knows all this. It did come into Kant s head, 
and it was this very problem, clothed by him in the severe 
form of an inquiry as to the possibility of synthetical a 
priori judgments, that became the starting-point and the 
corner-stone of his immortal discoveries, or in other words, 
of Transcendental Philosophy which, precisely by answering 


this question and others related to it, shows wh&t is the 
nature of that empirical reality itself. 1 

And seventy years after the Critique of Pure Reason 
had appeared and filled the world with its fame, these 
gentlemen dare to serve up such gross absurdities, which 
were done away with long ago, and to return to former 
barbarism. If Kant were to come back and see all this 
mischief, he would feel like Moses on returning from 
Mount Sinai, when he found his people worshipping the 
golden calf, and dashed the Tables to pieces in his anger. 
But if Kant were to take things as tragically as Moses, I 
should console him with the words of Jesus Sirach : 2 " He 
that telleth a tale to a fool speaketh to one in a slumber ; 

1 In the Scholium to the eighth of the definitions he has placed at the 
top of his " Principia," Newton quite rightly distinguishes absolute, that 
is, empty, from relative, or filled Time, and likewise absolute from relative 
Space. He says, p. 11 : Tempus, spatium, locum, motum, ut omnibus 
notissima, non definio. Notandum tamen quod VULGUS (that is, professors 
like those I have been mentioning) quantitates hasce non aliter quam ex 
relatione ad sensibilia concipiat. Et inde oriuntur praejudicia quacdam, 
quibus tollendis convenit easdem in absolutas et rclativas, veras et ap- 
parentes, mathematical et vulgar es distingui. And again (p. 12): 

I. Tempus absolutum, verum et mathematicum, in se et natura ma 
sine relatione ad externum quodvis, aequabiliter fluit, alioque nomine 
dicitur Duratio: relativwn, apparens et vulgare est sensibilis et extem-a 
quaevis Durationis per motum mensura (seu accurata seu inaequabilis] 
qud vulgus vice veri temporis utitur ; ut Hora, Dies, Mensis, Annus. 

II. Spatium absolutum, natura sua sine relatione ad externum quod- 
vis, semper manet similare et immobile: relativum est spatii hujus men- 
sura seu dimensio quaelibet mobilis, quae a sensibus nostris per situm 
suum ad corpora definitur, et a vulgo pro spatio immobili usurpatur : 
uti dimensio spatii subterranei } acrei vel coelestis definita per situm suum 
ad terram. 

But even Newton never dreamt of asking how we know these two 
infinite entities, Space and Time ; since, as he here impresses on us, they 
do not fall within the range of the senses ; and how we know them more 
over so intimately, that we are able to indicate their whole nature and 
rule down to the minutest detail. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 Bcclesiasticus xxii. 8. 


when lie hath told his tale, he will say, What is the 
matter? " For that diamond in Kant s crown, Transcen 
dental ^Esthetic, never has existed for these gentlemen 
it is tacitly set aside, as non-avenue. I wonder what they 
think Nature means by producing the rarest of all her 
works, a great mind, one among so many hundreds of mil 
lions, if the worshipful company of numskulls are to be 
able at their pleasure and by their mere counter-assertion 
to annul the weightiest doctrines emanating from that 
mind, let alone to treat them with disregard and do as if 
they did not exist. 

But this degenerate, barbarous state of philosophy which, 
in the present day, emboldens every tyro to hold forth at 
random upon subjects that have puzzled the greatest 
minds, is precisely a consequence still remaining of the 
impunity with which thanks to the connivance of our pro 
fessors of philosophy that audacious scribbler, Hegel, has 
been allowed to flood the market with his monstrous 
vagaries and so to pass for the greatest of all philosophers 
for the last thirty years in Germany. Every one of course 
now thinks himself entitled to serve up confidently any 
thing that may happen to come into his sparrow s 

Therefore, as I have said, the gentlemen of the philo 
sophical trade are anxious before all things to obliterate 
Kant s philosophy, in order to be able to return to the 
muddy canal of the old dogmatism and to talk at random 
to their heart s content upon the favourite subjects which 
are specially recommended to them : just as if nothing had 
happened and neither a Kant nor a Critical Philosophy 
had ever come into the world. 1 The affected veneration 
for, and laudation of, Leibnitz too, which has been showing 
itself everywhere for some years, proceed from the same 

1 For Kant has disclosed the dreadful truth, that philosophy must h<? 
quite a different thing from Jewish mythology. [A.dd to 3rd ed.] 


source. They like to place him in a line with, nay above, 
Kant, having at times the assurance to call him the 
greatest of all G-erman philosophers. Now, compared with 
Kant, Leibnitz is a poor rushlight. Kant is a master 
mind, to whom mankind is indebted for the discovery of 
never-to-be-forgotten truths. One of his chief merits is 
precisely, to have delivered us from Leibnitz and his subtle 
ties : from pre-established harmonies, monads and identitas 
indiscernibilium. Kant has made philosophy serious and I 
am keeping it so. That these gentlemen should think dif 
ferently is easily explained ; for has not Leibnitz a central 
Monad and a Theodicee also, with which to deck it out ? 
Now this is quite to the taste of my gentlemen of the 
philosophical trade. It does not stand in the way of 
earning a honest livelihood ; it allows one to subsist ; 
whereas such a thing as Kant s " Critique of all Speculative 
Theology," makes one s hair stand on end. Kant is con 
sequently a wrong-headed man and one to be set aside. 
Vivat Leibnitz ! Vivat the philosophical trade ! Vivat 
old woman s philosophy ! These gentlemen really imagine 
that, according to the standard of their own petty aims, they 
can obscure what is good, disparage what is great, and 
accredit what is false. They may perhaps succeed in 
doing so for a time, but certainly not in the long run, nor 
with impunity. Notwithstanding all their machinations 
and spiteful ignoring of me for forty years, have not 
even I at last made my way ? During those forty years 
however I have learnt to appreciate Chamfort s words : 
"En examinant la ligue des sots contre les gens d* esprit, on 
croirait voir une conspiration de valets pour ecarter les 

We do not care to have much to do with those whom we 
dislike. One of the consequences of this antipathy for 
Kant, therefore, has been an incredible ignorance of his 
doctrines. I can scarcely believe my eyes at times, when 


I see certain proofs of this ignorance, and must here sup 
port my assertion by a few examples. First let me present 
a very singular specimen, though it is now some years old. 
In Professor Michelet s " Anthropology and Psychology " 
(p. 444), he states Kant s Categorical Imperative in the 
following words : " thou must, for thou canst " (du sollst, 
denn du Jcannsf). This cannot be a lapsus calami, for he 
again states it in the same words in his " History of the 
Development of Modern German Philosophy" (p. 38), * 
published three years later. Letting alone the fact that he 
appears to have studied Kantian philosophy in Schiller s 
epigrams, he has thus turned the thing upside down, and 
expressed exactly the opposite of Kant s argument ; evidently 
without having the slightest inkling of what Kant meant 
by that postulate of Freedom on the basis of his Categorical 
Imperative. None of Professor Michelet s colleagues, to 
my knowledge, have pointed out this mistake, but " hanc 
veniam damns, petimusque vicissim" Another more recent 
instance. The above mentioned reviewer of Oersted s book 
(see note 1 (c), p. 202), to whose title the present treatise un 
fortunately had to stand godfather, comes in that work on 
the sentence that " bodies are spaces filled with force " 
(krafterfiilUe Edume). This is new to him; so without 
the faintest suspicion that he has to do with a far-famed 
Kantian dogma, and taking this for a paradoxical opinion 
of Oersted s, he attacks it and argues against it bravely, 
persistently and repeatedly in both his reviews, which ap 
peared at an interval of three years from one another, 
using arguments like these : " Force cannot fill Space without 
something substantial, Matter ; " then again three years 
later : " Force in Space does not yet constitute any thing. 

1 Another instance of Michelet s ignorance is to be frund io Schopen 
hauer s posthumous writings, see " Aus Arthur Schopenhauer s hand- 
schriftlichem Nachlass," Leipzig, A. Brockhaus, 1864, p. 327. [Editor s 


For Force to fill Space, there must be Substance, Matter. A 
mere force cap never fill. Matter must be there for it to 
fill." Bravo ! my cobbler would use just such arguments 
as these. 1 When I see specimina eruditionis of this sort, I 
begin to have my misgivings whether I did not do the man 
injustice by naming him among those who endeavour to 
undermine Kant ; but in this, to be sure, I had in view his 
assertions that " Space is but the relation, the juxtaposition 
of things," 2 and that " Space is a relation in which things 
stand, a juxtaposition of things. This juxtaposition ceases 
to be a conception as soon as the conception of Matter 
ceases." 3 For he might possibly have penned these sen 
tences in sheer innocence, since he may have known no more 
of the " Transcendental Aesthetic " than of the " Meta 
physical First Principles of Natural Science ; " though to 
be sure, this would be rather extraordinary for a professor of 
philosophy. Now-a-days however we must not be surprised 
at anything. For all knowledge of Critical Philosophy has 
died out, in spite of its being the latest true philosophy that 
has appeared, and a doctrine withal, that has made a revolu 
tion and epoch in human knowledge and thought. Now 
therefore, since it has overthrown all previous systems, and 
since the knowledge of it has died out, philosophising no 
longer proceeds on the basis of any of the doctrines pro 
pounded by the great minds of the past, but becomes a 
mere random untutored process, having an ordinary educa 
tion and the catechism for its foundation. Now that I have 
startled them however, our professors may perhaps take to 
studying Kant s works again. Still Lichtenberg says : 

1 The same reviewer (Von Reuchlin-Meldegg) when he expounds the 
doctrines of the philosophers concerning God in the August number of 
the Heidelberg Annals (1855), p. 579, says: "In Kant, God is a thing 
in- itself which cannot be known." lu his review of Frauenstadt s 
" Letters " in the Heidelberg Annals of May and June (1855) he says that 
there is no knowledge a priori. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 C. 1. p. 899. 8 p. 908. 


" Past a certain age, I think it as impossible to learn 
Kantian Philosophy as to learn rope-dancing." 

I should certainly not have condescended to record the 
sins of these sinners had not the interests of truth 
required that I should do so, in order to show the state 
of degradation at which German Philosophy has arrived 
fifty years after Kant s death in consequence of the 
machinations of the gentlemen of the trade/ and also to 
show what would result, if these puny minds, who know 
nothing but their own ends, were to be suffered without 
hindrance to check the influence of the great geniuses who 
have illumined the world. I cannot look on at this in 
silence ; it is rather a case to which G-othe s exhortation 
applies : 

" Du Kraftiger, sei nicht so still, 

Wenn auch sich Andre scheuen : 
Wer den Teufel erschreeken will, 

Der muss laut schreien." 

Dr. Martin Luther thought so also. 

Hatred against Kant, hatred against me, hatred against 
truth, all however in majorem Dei gloriam, is what inspires 
these worthies who live on philosophy. Who can be so 
blind as not to see that University philosophy is the enemy 
of all true, serious philosophy, whose progress it feels 
bound to withstand ? For a philosophy which deserves the 
name, is pure service of truth, therefore the most sub 
lime of all human endeavours ; but, as such, it is not 
adapted for a trade. Least of all can it have its seat in 
Universities, where a theological Faculty predominates 
and things are irrevocably decided beforehand ere philo 
sophy comes to them. With Scholasticism, from which 
University philosophy descends, it was quite a different 
thing. Scholasticism was avowedly the ancilla theologies, 
so that here the name corresponded to the thing. Our 
University philosophy of to-day, on the contrary, disclaims 


the connection, and professes independent research ; yet in 
reality it is only the ancilla disguised, and it is intended no 
less than its predecessor to be the servant of Theology. 
Thus genuine, sincerely meant philosophy has an adversary 
under the guise of an ally in University philosophy. There 
fore I said long ago, that nothing would be of greater bene 
fit to philosophy than for it to cease altogether to be taught 
at Universities ; and if at that time I still admitted the 
propriety of a brief, quite succinct course of History of 
Philosophy accompanying Logic which undoubtedly ought 
to be taught at Universities I have since withdrawn that 
hasty concession in consequence of the following disclosure 
made to us in the Gottingischen Gelehrten Anzeigen of the 
1st January, 1853, p. 8, by the Ordinarius loci (one who 
writes History of Philosophy in thick volumes) : " It could 
not be mistaken that Kant s doctrine is ordinary Theism, 
and that it has contributed little or nothing towards trans 
forming the current views on G-od and his relation to the 
world." If this is the state of the case, Universities are in 
my opinion no longer the right place even for teaching 
History of Philosophy. There designs and intentions reign 
paramount. I had indeed long ago begun to suspect, that 
History of Philosophy was taught at our Universities in 
the same spirit and with the same granum sails as Philo 
sophy itself, and it needed but very little to make my sus 
picions certainty. Accordingly it is my wish to see both 
Philosophy and its History disappear from the lecture-list, 
because I desire to rescue them from the tender mercies of 
our court-councillors. 1 But far be it from me, to wish to see 
our professors of philosophy removed from their thriving 
business at our Universities. On the contrary, what I 
should like would be, to see them promoted three degrees 
higher in dignity and raised to the highest faculty, as pro- 

1 Hofrathe. A title of honour often given for literary and scientific 
merit in Germany, and common among University professors. [Tr. s note.] 


fessors of Theology. For at the bottom they have really 
been this for some time already, and have served quite 
long enough as volunteers. 

Meanwhile my honest and kindly advice to the young 
generation is, not to waste any time with University 
philosophy, but to study Kant s works and my own 
instead. I promise them that there they will learn some 
thing substantial, that will bring light and order into their 
brains : so far at least as they may be capable of receiving 
them. It is not good to crowd round a wretched farthing 
rushlight when brilliant torches are close by ; still less 
to run after will o the wisps. Above all, my truth- 
seeking young friends, beware of letting our professors 
tell you what is contained in the Critique of Pure Reason. 
Bead it yourselves, and you will find in it something 
very different from what they deem it advisable for you 
to know. In our time a great deal too much study is 
generally devoted to the History of Philosophy ; for this 
study, being adapted by its very nature to substitute know 
ledge for reflection, is just now cultivated downright with 
a view to making philosophy consist in its own history. It 
is not only of doubtful necessity, but even of questionable 
profit, to acquire a superficial half-knowledge of the 
opinions and systems of all the philosophers who have 
taught for 2,500 years ; yet what more does the most 
honest history of philosophy give ? A real knowledge of 
philosophers can only be acquired from their own works, 
and not from the distorted image of their doctrines as it is 
found in the commonplace head. 1 But it is really urgent 
that order should be brought into our heads by some sort 
of philosophy, and that we should at the same time learn 

1 " Potius de rebus ipsis judicare debemus, qiiam pro magno habere, 
de hominibus quid quisque senserit scire" says St. Augustine (" De civ. 
Dei" 1. 19, c. 3). Under the present mode of proceeding, however, the 
philosophical lecture-room becomes a sort of rag-fair for old worn-out, 


to look at the world with a really unbiassed ere. Now 
no philosophy is so near to us, both as regards time and 
language, as that of Kant, and it is at the same time a 
philosophy, compared with which all those which went 
before are superficial. On this account it is unhesita 
tingly to be preferred to all others. 

But I perceive that the news of Caspar Hauser s escape 
has already spread among our professors of philosophy ; 
for I see that some of them have already given vent to 
their feelings in bitter and venomous abuse of me in 
various periodicals, making up by falsehoods for their 
deficiency of wit. 1 Nevertheless I do not complain of all 
this, because I am rejoiced at the cause and amused by 
the effect of it, as illustrative of Grothe s verse : 

" Es will der Spitz aus unserm Stall 

Uns immerfort begleiten : 
Doch seines Bellens lauter Schall 
Beweist nur, dass wir reiten." 

August, 1854. 

cast-off opinions, which are brought there every six months to be aired 
and beaten. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

1 I take this opportunity urgently to request that the public will not 
believe unconditionally any accounts of what I am supposed to have said, 
even when they are given as quotations ; but will first verify the existence 
of these quotations in my works. In this way many a falsehood will be 
detected, which can however only be stamped as a direct forgery when 
accompanied by quotation marks (" "). [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


SCHOPENHAUER has left an interleaved copy of his 
work " On the Will in Nature," as well as of his 
other writings, and has inserted in it those Corrections 
and Additions which he intended to use for the Third 
Edition. I have therefore included them in this Third 

The Corrections chiefly concern the style, here and 
there an expression being changed, and a word inserted or 
omitted. The Additions, on the contrary, concern the 
matter of the book ; they amplify it more or less consider 
ably, and are tolerably numerous. 

The Corrections are incorporated by Schopenhauer with 
the text ; whereas the Additions are designated by him ad 
" Notes " (Anmerkungen) to be placed at the foot of the 
pages with the words, " added to the third edition." 
They will therefore be found at the places indicated by 
him for them, as foot-notes ; and thus the reader will be 
enabled easily to discern how much has been added in this 

As to the value of the present work, Schopenhauer has 
expressed himself as follows in the " World as Will and 
Representation : " 

" It would be a great mistake to consider the foreign 
deliverances with which I have connected my own exposi 
tion there (in the work " On the Will in Nature ") as the 
real substance and argument of that work which, though 


small in size, is weighty in import. They are rather a 
mere occasion which I take as my starting-point in order 
to expound the fundamental truth of my doctrine more 
clearly there than has been done anywhere else, and to 
apply it all the way down even to the empirical knowledge 
of Nature. This I have done most exhaustively and 
stringently under the heading " Physical Astronomy," nor 
can I ever hope to find a more correct or accurate expres 
sion for the kernel of my doctrine than the one given 
there." x 

I have nothing to add to testimony thus given by 
Schopenhauer himself. 


Berlin, March, 1867. 

1 " Die Welt a. W. u. V.," vol. ii., c. 18, p. 213. 


THE present Fourth Edition is an identical reprint of 
the Third : it therefore contains the same Corrections 
and Additions which I had already inserted in the Third 
Edition from Schopenhauer s own manuscript. 

Berlin, September, 1877. 



IBEEAK silence after seventeen years, 1 in order to 
point out to the few who, in advance of the age, may 
have given their attention to my philosophy, sundry cor- 
roborations which have been contributed to it by unbiassed 
empiricists, unacquainted with my writings, who, in pur 
suing their own road in search of merely empirical know 
ledge, discovered at its extreme end what my doctrine has 
propounded as the Metaphysical (das Metaphysische), from 
which the explanation of experience as a whole must come. 
This circumstance is the more encouraging, as it confers 
upon my system a distinction over all hitherto existing 
ones ; for all the other systems, even the latest that of 
Kant still leave a wide gap between their results and 
experience, and are far from coming down directly to, and 
into contact with, experience. By this my Metaphysic 
proves itself to be the only one having an extreme point 
in common with the physical sciences : a point up to which 
these sciences come to meet it by their own paths, so as 

1 So had I written in 1835, when the present treatise was first com 
posed, having published nothing since 1818, before the close of which 
year " Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung ; had appeared. For a Latin 
version, which I had added to the third volume of" Scriptores ophthalmo- 
logici minores" edentc J. Radio, in 1830, for the benefit of my foreign 
readers, of my treatise "On Vision and Colours" (published in 1816), 
can hardly be said to break the silence of that pause. 


really to connect themselves and to harmonize with it. 
Moreover this is not brought about by twisting and strain- 
in g the empirical sciences in order to adapt them to Meta- 
physic, nor by Metaphysic having been secretly abstracted 
from them beforehand and then, a la Schelling, finding 
a priori what it had learnt a posteriori. On the contrary, 
both meet at the same point of their own accord, yet with 
out collusion. My system therefore, far from soaring above 
all reality and all experience, descends to the firm ground 
of actuality, where its lessons are continued by the Phy 
sical Sciences. 

Now the extraneous and empirical corroborations I am 
about to bring forward, all concern the kernel and chief 
point of my doctrine, its Metaphysic proper. They con 
cern, that is, the paradoxical fundamental truth, 

that what Kant opposed as thing in itself to mere pheno 
menon called more decidedly by me representation 
and what he held to be absolutely unknowable, that 
this thing in itself, this substratum of all phenomena, 
and therefore of the whole of Nature, is nothing but 
what we know directly and intimately and find within 
ourselves as the will ; 1 

that accordingly, this will, far from being inseparable from, 
and even a mere result of, knowledge, differs radically 
and entirely from, and is quite independent of, know 
ledge, which is secondary and of later origin ; and can 
consequently subsist and manifest itself without know 
ledge : a thing which actually takes place throughout the 
whole of Nature, from the animal kingdom downwards ; 

that this will, being the one and only thing in itself, the 

1 As will be seen by the following detailed exposition, Schopenhauer 
attaches a far wider meaning to the word than is usually given, and 
regards the will, not merely as conscious volition enlightened by Season 
and determined by motives, but as the fundamental essence of all that 
occurs, even where there is no choice. [Tr.] 


sole truly real, primary, metaphysical thing in a world 
in which everything else is only phenomenon i.e. mere 
representation gives all things, whatever they may 
be, the power to exist and to act ; 

that accordingly, not only the voluntary actions of animals, 
but the organic mechanism, nay even the shape and 
quality of their living body, the vegetation of plants 
and finally, even in inorganic Nature, crystallization, 
and in general every primary force which manifests 
itself in physical and chemical phenomena, not ex 
cepting Gravity, that all this, I say, in itself, i.e. 
independently of phenomenon (which only means, 
independently of our brain and its representations), 
is absolutely identical with the will we find within 
us and know as intimately as we can know any 
thing ; 

that further, the individual manifestations of the will are 
set in motion by motives in beings gifted with an 
intellect, but no less by stimuli in the organic life of 
animals and of plants, and finally in all inorganic 
Nature, by causes in the narrowest sense of the word 
these distinctions applying exclusively to pheno 

that, on the other hand, knowledge with its substratum, 
the intellect, is a merely secondary phenomenon, dif 
fering completely from the will, only accompanying 
its higher degrees of objectification and not essential 
to it ; which, as it depends upon the manifestations of 
the will in the animal organism, is therefore physical, 
and not, like the will, metaphysical ; 

that we are never able therefore to infer absence of will 
from absence of knowledge; for the will may be 
pointed out even in all phenomena of unconscious 
Nature, whether in plants or in inorganic bodies ; in 


that the will is not conditioned by knowledge, as lias 
hitherto been universally assumed, although know 
ledge is conditioned by the will. 

Now this fundamental truth, which even to-day sounds 
so like a paradox, is the part of my doctrine to which, in 
all its chief points, the empirical sciences themselves ever 
eager to steer clear of all Metaphysic have contributed 
just as many confirmations forcibly elicited by the irresis 
tible cogency of truth, but which are most surprising on 
account of the quarter whence they proceed ; and although 
they have certainly come to light since the publication of 
my chief work, it has been quite independently of it and as 
the years went on. Now, that it should be precisely this 
fundamental doctrine of mine which has thus met with 
confirmation, is advantageous in two respects. First, 
because it is the main thought upon which my system is 
founded ; secondly, because it is the only part of my phi 
losophy that admits of confirmation through sciences which 
are alien to, and independent of, it. For although the last 
seventeen years, during which I have been constantly 
occupied with this subject, have, it is true, brought me 
many corroborations as to other parts, such as Ethics, 
^Esthetics, Dianoiology ; still these, by their very nature, 
pass at once from the sphere of actuality, whence they 
arise, to that of philosophy itself : so they cannot claim 
to be extraneous evidence, nor can they, as collected by 
me, have the same irrefragable, unequivocal cogency as 
those concerning Metaphysics proper which are given 
by its correlate Physics (in the wide sense of the word 
which the Ancients gave it). For, in pursuing its own 
road, Physics, i.e., Natural Science as a whole, must in 
all its branches finally come to a point where physical ex 
planation ceases. Now this is precisely the Metaphysical, 
which Natural Science only apprehends as the impassable 
barrier at which it stops short and henceforth abandons its 


subject to Metaphysics. Kant therefore was quite right 
in saying : " It is evident, that the primary sources of 
Nature s agency must absolutely belong to the sphere of 
Metaphysics." l Physical science is wont to designate this 
unknown, inaccessible something, at which its investigations 
stop short and which is taken for granted in all its expla 
nations, by such terms as physical force, vital force, forma 
tive principle, &c. &c., which in fact mean no more than 
x, y, z. Now if nevertheless, in single, propitious instances, 
specially acute and observant investigators succeed in 
casting as it were a furtive glance behind the curtain 
which bounds off the domain of Natural Science, and 
are able not only to feel it is a barrier but, in a sense, to 
obtain a view of its nature and thus to peep into the meta 
physical region beyond ; if moreover, having acquired this 
privilege, they explicitly designate the limit thus explored 
downright as that which is stated to be the true inner 
essence and final principle of all things by a system of 
Metaphysics unknown to them, which takes its reasons from 
a totally different sphere and, in every other respect, re 
cognises all things merely as phenomena, i.e., as represen 
tation then indeed the two bodies of investigators must 
feel like two mining engineers driving a gallery, who, 
having started from two points far apart and worked for 
some time in subterranean darkness, trusting exclusively 
to compass and spirit-level, suddenly to their great joy 
catch the sound of each other s hammers. For now indeed 
these investigators know, that the point so long vainly 
sought for has at last been reached at which Metaphysics 
and Physics meet they, who were as hard to bring to 
gether as Heaven and Earth that a reconciliation has 
been initiated and a connection found between these two 
sciences. But the philosophical system which has wit 
nessed this triumph receives by it the strongest and most 
1 Kant, " Von der wahren Scliat/uiig der lebendigen Krafte," 51. 


satisfactory proof possible of its own truth and accuracy. 
Compared with such a confirmation as this, which may, in 
fact, be looked upon as equivalent to proving a sum in 
arithmetic, the regard or disregard of a given period of 
time loses all importance, especially when we consider what 
has been the subject of interest meanwhile and find it to 
be the sort of philosophy we have been treated to since 
Kant. The eyes of the public are gradually opening to 
the mystification by which it has been duped for the last 
forty years under the name of philosophy, and this will be 
more and more the case. The day of reckoning is at hand, 
when it will see whether all this endless scribbling and 
quibbling since Kant has brought to light a single truth of 
any kind. I may thus be dispensed from the obligation of 
entering here into subjects so unworthy ; the more so, as I 
can accomplish my purpose more briefly and agreeably by 
narrating the following anecdote. During the carnival, 
Dante having lost himself in a crowd of masks, the Duke 
of Medici ordered him to be sought for. Those coin- 
missioned to look for him, being doubtful whether they 
would be able to find him, as he was himself masked, the 
Duke gave them a question to put to every mask they 
might meet who resembled Dante. It was this: "Who 
knows what is good ? " After receiving several foolish 
answers, they finally met with a mask who replied : " He 
that knows what is bad," by which Dante was immediately 
recognised. "What is meant by this here is, that I have 
seen no reason to be disheartened on account of the want 
of sympathy of my contemporaries, since I had at the same 
time before my eyes the objects of their sympathy. What 
those authors were, posterity will see by their works ; what 
the contemporaries were, will be seen by the reception they 
gave to those works. My doctrine lays no claim whatever 

1 Baltazar Gracian, " El Criticon," iii. 90, to whom I leave the 
responsibility for the anachronism. 


to the name " Philosophy of the present time " which was 
disputed to the amusing adepts of Hegel s mystification ; 
but it certainly does claim the title of "Philosophy of 
time to come : " that is, of a time when people will no 
longer content themselves with a mere jingle of words 
without meaning, with empty phrases and trivial paral 
lelisms, but will exact real contents and serious disclosures 
from philosophy, while, on the other hand, they will exempt it 
from the unjust and preposterous obligation of paraphrasing 
the national religion for the time being. " For it is an 
extremely absurd thing," says Kant , 1 " to expect to be en 
lightened by Reason and yet to prescribe to her beforehand 
on which side she must incline." It is indeed sad to live 
in an age so degenerate, that it should be necessary to 
appeal to the authority of a great man to attest so obvious 
a truth. But it is absurd to expect marvels from a phi 
losophy that is chained up, and particularly amusing to 
watch the solemn gravity with which it sets to work to 
accomplish grea,t things, when we all know beforehand 
" the short meaning of the long speech." 2 However the 
keen-sighted assert that under the cloak of philosophy they 
can mostly detect theology holding forth for the edification 
of students thirsting after truth, and instructing them 
after its own fashion ; and this again reminds us forcibly 
of a certain favourite scene in Faust. Others, who think 
that they see still further into the matter, maintain that 
what is thus disguised is neither theology nor philosophy, 
but simply a poor devil who, while solemnly protesting 
that he has lofty, sublime truth for his aim, is in fact only 
striving to get bread for himself and for his future young 
family. This he might no doubt obtain by other means 
with less labour and more dignity ; meanwhile however for 

1 Kant, " Krit. d. r. V." 5th edition, p. 755. (English translation by 
M. Muller, p. 640.) 

2 Schiller, der langen Kede kurzer Sinn." [Tr.] 


this price he is ready to do anything he is asked to do, 
even to deduce a priori, nay, should it come to the worst, 
to perceive, the Devil and his dam/ by intellectual intui 
tion and here indeed the exceedingly comical effect is 
brought to a climax by the contrast between the sublimity 
of the ostensible, and the lowliness of the real, aim. It 
remains nevertheless desirable, that the pure, sacred pre 
cincts of philosophy should be cleansed of all such traders, 
as was the temple of Jerusalem in former times of the 
buyers and sellers. Biding such better times therefore, 
may our philosophical public bestow its attention and 
interest as it has done hitherto. May it continue as before 
invariably naming Fichte as an obligate accompaniment to, 
and in the same breath with, Kant that great mind, pro 
duced but once by Nature, which has illumined its own depth 
as if forsooth they were of the same kind ; and this without 
a single voice being heard to exclaim in protest HpaK\ij$ 
KUI iridrjKOQ ! May Hegel s philosophy of absolute nonsense 
three-fourths cash and one-fourth crazy fancies con 
tinue to pass for unfathomable wisdom without anyone 
suggesting as an appropriate motto for his writings Shake 
speare s words : " Such stuff as madmen tongue and brain 
not," or, as an emblematical vignette, the cuttle-fish with 
its ink-bag, creating a cloud of darkness around it to pre 
vent people from seeing what it is, with the device : mea 
caligine tutus. May each day bring us, as hitherto, new 
systems adapted for University purposes, entirely made up 
of words and phrases and in a learned jargon besides, 
which allows people to talk whole days without saying 
anything ; and may these delights never be disturbed by 
the Arabian proverb : " I hear the clappering of the mill, 
but I see no flour." For all this is in accordance with the 
age and must have its course. In all times some such thing 
occupies the contemporary public more or less noisily ; then 
it dies off so completely, vanishes so entirely, without 


leaving a trace behind, that the next generation no longer 
knows what it was. Truth can bide its time, for it has a 
long life- before it. Whatever is genuine and seriously 
meant, is always slow to make its way and certainly 
attains its end almost miraculously ; for on its first appear 
ance it as a rule meets with a cool, if not ungracious, re 
ception : and this for exactly the same reason that, when 
once it is fully recognised and has passed on to pos 
terity, the immense majority of men take it on credit, 
in order to avoid compromising themselves, whereas the 
number of genuine appreciators remains nearly as small 
as it was at -first. These few nevertheless suffice to make 
the truth respected, for they are themselves respected. 
And thus it is passed from hand to hand through centuries 
over the heads of the inept multitude: so hard is the 
existence of mankind s best inheritance! On the other 
hand, if truth had to crave permission to be true from 
such as have quite different aims at heart, its cause might 
indeed be given, up for lost ; for then it might often be 
dismissed with the witches watch-word : " fair is foul, 
and foul is fair." Luckily however this is not the case. 
Truth depends upon no one s favour or disfavour, nor 
does it ask anyone s leave : it stands upon its own feet, and 
has Time for its ally ; its power is irresistible, its life in 


IN classifying the above-mentioned empirical corrobora- 
tions of my doctrine according to the sciences from 
which they come, while I take the graduated order of 
Nature from the highest to the lowest degree as a guiding- 
thread to my expositions, I must first mention a very 
striking confirmation lately received by my chief dogma in 
the physiological and pathological views of Dr. J. D. 
Brandis, private physician to the King of Denmark, a 
veteran in science, whose " Essay on Vital Force " (1795) 
had received Kail s hearty commendation. In his two 
latest writings : " Experiences in the Application of Cold in 
Disease" (Berlin, 1833), and " Nosology and Therapeutics 
of Cachexise " (1834), we find him in the most emphatic 
and striking manner stating the primary source of all vital 
functions to be an unconscious will, from which he derives 
all processes in the machinery of the organism, in health as 
well as in disease, and which he represents as the primum 
mobile of life. I must support this by literal quotations 
from these essays, since few save medical readers are 
likely to have them at hand. 

In the first of them, p. viii., we find: "The essence of 
every living organism consists in the will to maintain its 
own existence as much as possible over against the 
macrocosm ; " p. x. : " Only one living entity, one will can 
be in an organ at the same time ; therefore if there is a 
diseased will in disagreement with the rest of the body in 
the organ of the skin, we may hold it in check by applying 


cold as long as the generation of warmth, a normal will, 
can be induced by it." P. 1 : " If we are forced to the con 
viction that there must be a determining principle a will, 
in every vital action, by which the development suited to 
the whole organism is occasioned, and each metamorphosis 
of the parts conditioned, in harmony with the whole indi 
viduality, and likewise that there is a something capable 
of being determined and developed," &c. &c. P. 11: "With 
respect to individual life, the element which determines, 
the organic will, if it is to rest satisfied, must be able to 
attain what it wants from that which has to be determined. 
This occurs even when the vital movements are over 
excited, as in inflammation : something new is formed, the 
noxious element is expelled ; new plastic materials are 
meanwhile conveyed through the arteries, more venous 
blood is carried off, until the process of inflammation is 
finished and the organic will satisfied. It is however 
possible to excite this will to such a degree, as to make 
satisfaction impossible. This exciting cause (or stimulus) 
either acts directly upon the particular organ (poison, con 
tagion) or it affects the whole life ; and this life then begins 
to make the most strenuous efforts to rid itself of the 
noxious element or to modify the disposition of the organic 
will, and provokes critical vital activity in particular 
parts (inflammations) or yields to the unappeased will"- 
P. 12 : " The insatiable will acts destructively upon the 
organism unless either (a) the whole life, in its efforts to 
attain unity (tendency to adapt means to end), produces 
other activities requiring satisfaction (crises et lyses) which 
hold that will in check called decisive (crises complete?) 
when quite successful; crises incomplete, when only partially 
so or (ft) some other stimulus (medicine) produces another 
will which represses the diseased one. If we place this in 
one and the same category with the will of which we have 
become conscious through our own representations, and 



bear in mind that here there can be no question of more or 
less distant resemblance, we gain the conviction that we have 
grasped the fundamental conception of the one unlimited, 
therefore indivisible, life which, according to its different 
manifestations in various more or less endowed and exer 
cised organs, is just as able to make hair grow on the 
human body as to combine the most sublime representa 
tions. We see that the most violent passion unsatisfied 
will may be checked by more or less strong excitement," 
&c. &c. P. 18 : " The determining element this organic 
will without representation, this tendency to preserve the 
organism as a unity is induced by outward temperature 
to modify its activity now in the same, now in a remoter 
organ. Every manifestation of life, however, whether in 
health or in disease, is a manifestation of the organic 
will : this will determines vegetation : in a healthy condi 
tion, in harmony with the unity of the whole ; in an un 
healthy one .... it is induced not to will in harmony 
with that unity "... .P. 23 : " Cold suddenly applied 
to the skin suppresses its function (chill) ; cold drinks 
check the organic will in the digestive organs and thereby 
intensify that of the skin and produce perspiration ; just 
so with the diseased organic will: cold checks cutaneous 
eruptions," &c. &c. P. 33 : " Fever is the complete parti 
cipation of the whole vital process in a diseased will, i.e. it 
is to the entire vital process what inflammation is to 
particular organs the effort of our vitality to form some 
thing definite, in order to content the diseased will and 
remove the noxious element. We call this process of forma 
tion crisis or lysis (turning-point or release). The first per 
ception of the pernicious element which causes the diseased 
will, affects the individuality just in the same way as a 
noxious element apprehended by our senses, before we 
have brought to clear representation the entire relation 
in which it stands to our individuality and the means of 


removing it. It creates terror and its consequences, a 
standstill of the vital process in the parenchyma, especially 
in the parts directed towards the outer world ; in the skin, 
and in all the motor muscles belonging to the entire 
individuality (outer body) : shuddering, chills, trembling, 
pains in the limbs, &c. &c. The difference between them 
is, that in the latter case the noxious element, either at 
once or gradually, becomes clear representation, because it 
is compared with the individuality by means of all the 
senses, so that its relation to that individuality can be 
determined, and the means of protection against it (dis 
regard, flight, warding off, defence, &c.) be brought to 
a conscious will; whereas, in the former case, we remain 
unconscious of that noxious element, and it is life alone 
(or Nature s curative power) which is striving to remove 
the noxious element and thereby to content the diseased 
will. Nor must this be taken for a simile; it is, on 
the contrary, a true description of the manifestation of 
life." P. 58 : " We must however always bear in mind, 
that cold acts here as a powerful stimulus to check or 
moderate the diseased will and to rouse in its place a 
natural will, accompanied by general warmth." 

In almost every page of this book similar expressions are 
to be found. In the second of the Essays I have named, 
Brandis no longer combines the explanation by the will 
so universally with each separate analysis, probably in 
consideration that this explanation is properly speaking, a 
metaphysical one. Nevertheless he maintains it entirely 
and completely, giving it even all the more distinct and 
decided expression, wherever he states it. Thus, for in 
stance, in 68 et seq. he speaks of an " unconscious will, 
which cannot be separated from the conscious one," and is 
the primum mobile of all life, as well in plants as in 
animals ; for, in these, it is a desire and aversion manifesting 
itself in all the organs which determines all their vital 


processes, secretions, &c. &c. . 71 : " All convulsions 
prove that the manifestation of the will can take place 
without distinct power of representation." . 72 : " Every 
where do we meet with a spontaneous, unconimunicated 
activity, now determined by the sublimest human free 
will, now by animal desire and aversion, now again by 
simple, more vegetative requirements ; which activity, in 
order to maintain itself, calls forth several other kinds of 
.activity in the unity of the individual." P. 96 : "A 
creative, spontaneous, uncomrnunicated activity shows itself 
in every vital manifestation." . . " The third factor in 
this individual creation is the will, the individual s life 
itself." . . " The nerves are the conductors of this indi 
vidual creation: by their means form and mixture are 
varied according to desire and aversion." P. 97 : " Assimi 
lation of foreign substance . . . makes the blood . . . 
It is not an absorption or an exudation of organic matter ; 
... on the contrary, here the sole factor of the phe 
nomenon is in all cases the creative will, a life which 
cannot be brought back to any sort of imparted move 

When I wrote this (1835) I was still naif enough 
seriously to believe that Brandis was unacquainted with 
my work, or I should not allude here to his writings ; for 
they would then be merely a repetition, application and 
carrying out of my own doctrine on this point, not a corro- 
boration of it. But I thought I might safely assume that 
he did not know me, because he has not mentioned me 
anywhere and because if he had known me, literary honesty 
would have made it his imperative duty not to remain 
silent concerning the man from whom he had borrowed his 
chief fundamental thought, the more so as he saw that man 
then enduring unmerited neglect, by his writings being 
generally ignored a circumstance which might be con- 


strued as favourable to fraud. Add to this, that it lay in 
Brandis own interest as a writer, and would therefore have 
shown sagacity on his part, to have appealed to me as an 
authority. For the fundamental doctrine propounded by 
him is so striking and paradoxical, that even his Gottingeii 
reviewer is amazed and hardly knows what to think of it ; 
yet such a doctrine as this was left without foundation 
either through proof or induction, nor did Dr. Brandis 
establish its relation to the whole of our knowledge of 
Nature : he simply asserted it. I imagined therefore that 
it was by the peculiar gift of divination, which enables emi 
nent physicians to see and do the right thing in cases of 
illness, that he had been led to this view, without being able 
to give a strict and methodical account of the grounds 
of this really metaphysical truth, although he must have 
seen how greatly it is opposed to the generally received 
views. Had he, thought I, been acquainted with my 
philosophy, which gives far greater extension to this truth, 
makes it valid for the whole of Nature and founds it both 
by proof and induction in close connection with Kant s 
teaching, from which it proceeds as a final result of ex 
cogitation how gladly must he have availed himself of such 
confirmation and support, rather than to stand alone by an 
unheard-of assertion which was never further carried out 
and, with him, never went beyond bare assertion. Such 
were the reasons that led me to believe myself entitled to 
take for granted Dr. Brandis ignorance of my book. 

Since then however I have become better acquainted 
v, r ith German scientists and Copenhagen Academicians, 
to which body Dr. Brandis belonged, and have gained 
the conviction that he knew me very well indeed. I stated 
my reasons for arriving at this conviction already in 1844 
in the 2nd vol. of " Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung," l 
so that, as the subject is by no means edifying, it is need- 
1 Chapter 20, p. 263 j p. 295 of the 3rd edition. 


less to repeat them here ; I will merely add that I have 
since been assured on trustworthy authority that Dr. 
Brandis not only knew my work but even possessed it, as 
it was found among his property after his death. The un 
merited obscurity to which writers like myself are long 
condemned, encourages such people to appropriate their 
thoughts without so much as naming them. 

Another medical authority has carried this even farther ; 
for, not content with the thought alone, he has appropriated 
to himself the expression of it also. I allude to Professor 
Anton Rosas of the University of Vienna, whose entire 
507 in the 1st vol. of his Textbook of Ophthalmology 2 
(1830) is copied word for word from pp. 14-16 of my 
treatise " On Vision and Colours " (1816) without any 
mention whatever of me, or even the slightest hint that he 
is using the words of another. This sufficiently accounts 
for the care he has taken not to mention my treatise among 
the lists of twenty-one writings on Colours and forty on the 
Physiology of the Eye, which he gives in 542 and 567 ; 
a caution which was however all the more advisable, as he 
had appropriated to himself a good deal more out of that 
pamphlet without mentioning me. All that is referred, for 
instance, in 526 to them (man), is only applicable to me. 
His entire 527 is copied almost literally from my pp. 59 
and 60. The theory which he introduces without further cere 
mony in 535 by the word "evidently" : that is, that yellow 
is f and violet i of the eye s activity, never was evident 
to anyone until I made it so ; even to this day it is a truth 
known to few and acknowledged by fewer still, and much is 
yet wanting for example, that I should be dead and 
buried ere it be possible to call it evident without 
further ceremony. The matter will even have to wait till 
after my death to be seriously sifted, since a close investi 
gation might easily bring to evidence the real difference 
1 Rosas, " JIumlbuch der Augenheilkunde " (1830). 


between Newton s theory of colours and my own, which is 
simply that his is false, and mine true : a discovery which 
could not fail to mortify my contemporaries. Wherefore, 
according to ancient custom, all serious examination into 
the question is wisely postponed for these few years. Pro 
fessor Rosas knew no such policy as this and, as the matter 
was not alluded to anywhere, thought himself entitled, like 
the Danish Academician, to claim it as lawful prey (de bonne 
prise) . Evidently North and South German honesty had 
not yet come to a satisfactory understanding. Moreover 
the whole contents of 538, 539 and 540 in Professor 
Rosas book are taken from my pamphlet, nay even in 
great part copied word for word from my 13. Still 
once, where he stands in need of a voucher for a fact, 
he finds himself obliged to refer to my treatise : that is, 
in his 531 ; and it is most amusing to see the way in 
which he even brings in the numerical fractions used by 
me, as a result of my theory, to express all colours. It had 
probably occurred to him, that appropriating them quite 
sans fa^on might be a delicate matter, so he says, p. 308: 
" If we wished to express in numbers the first-mentioned 
relation in which colours stand to white, assuming white to 
be = 1, the following scale of proportion might by the way 
be adopted (as has already been done by Schopenhauer) : 

yellow = J blue = i 

orange = -| violet = J 

red = i black = 
green = ~ 

Now I should like to know how anyone could do this by 
the way, without having first thought out my whole colour- 
theory, to which alone these numbers refer, and apart 
from which they are mere abstract numbers without 
meaning; above all, how anyone could do it who, like 
Professor Eosas, professes to be a follower of Newton s 


colour-theory, with which these numbers are in direct con 
tradiction ? Finally, I should like to know how it came, 
that during the thousands of years in which men have 
thought and written, no one but myself and Professor 
Rosas should ever have thought of using just these parti 
cular fractions to denote colours ? For the words 1 have 
quoted above tell us, that he would have stated those frac 
tions precisely as he has done, even had I not chanced to 
do it already fourteen years before and thus needlessly 
anticipated his statement ; they also tell us, that all that is 
required is to wish, in order to do so. Now it is pre 
cisely in these numerical fractions that the secret of colours 
lies : by them alone can we rightly solve the mystery of 
their nature and of their difference from one another. 
I should however be heartily glad, were plagiarism the 
worst kind of dishonesty that denied German literature ; 
there are others far more mischievous, which penetrate 
more deeply, and to which plagiarism bears the same pro 
portion as picking pockets in a mild way to capital crime. 
I allude to that mean, despicable spirit, whose loadstar is 
personal interest, when it ought to be truth, and in which 
the voice of intention makes itself heard beneath the mask 
of insight. Double-dealing and time-serving are the order of 
the day. Tartuffe comedies are performed without rouge ; 
nay, Capuchin sermons are preached in halls consecrated 
to Science ; enlightenment, that once revered word, has 
become a term of opprobrium ; the greatest thinkers of 
the past century, Yoltaire, Rousseau, Locke, Hume, are 
slandered those heroes, ornaments and benefactors of 
mankind, whose fame, diffused throughout both hemi 
spheres, can only be increased, if by anything, by the fact 
that wherever and whenever obscurantists show them 
selves, it is as their bitterest enemies and with good rea 
son. Literary coteries and associations are formed to deal 
out praise and blame, and spurious merit is then trumpeted 


forth and extolled, while sterling merit is slandered or, aa 
Gothe says, " secreted, by means of an inviolable silence, in 
vi,ich sort of inquisitorial censure the Germans have attained 
great proficiency." l The motives and considerations how 
ever from which all this proceeds, are of too low a nature 
for me to care to enumerate them in detail. But what a 
difference there is between periodicals such as the " Edin 
burgh Review," in which gentlemen of independent means 
are induced to write by a genuine interest in the subjects 
treated, and which honourably upholds its noble motto taken 
from Publius Syrus : Judex damnatur cum nocens absolvitur, 
and our mean- spirited, disingenuous, G-ermaii literary jour 
nals, full of considerations and intentions, that are mostly 
compiled for the sake of pay by hired editors, and ought 
properly to have for their motto: Accedas socius laudes, 
lauderis, ut absens. Now, after twenty years, do I understand 
what Gothe said to me at Berka in 1814. As I found him 
reading Madame de StaeTs " De TAllemagne" I remarked 
in course of conversation that she had given too exag 
gerated a description of German honesty and one that 
might mislead foreigners. He laughed and said: "Yes, 
to be sure, they will not secure their baggage behind and 
will have it cut off." He then added in a graver tone: 
" But one has to know German literature in order to realise 
the full extent of German dishonesty." All well and 
good ! But the most revolting kind of dishonesty in Ger 
man literature is that of the time-servers, who pass them 
selves off for philosophers, while in reality they are obscu 
rantists. The word time-serving no more needs explana 
tion than the thing needs a proof ; for anyone who had the 
face to deny it would furnish strong evidence in support of 

1 Gothe, "Tag-und Jahreshefte," 1812. 

7 This 1 wrote in 1836. The " Edinburgh Review "has since however 
greatly deteriorated, and is no longer its old self. I have even seen 
clerical time-serving in its pagos, written down to the level of the mob. 


my present argument. Kant taught, that man ought to 
use his fellow-man only as an end, never as a means : he 
did not think it necessary to say, that philosophy ought 
only to be dealt with as an end, never as a means. Time 
serving may after all be excused under every garb, the 
cowl as well as the ermine, save only the philosopher s 
cloak (Triboniori) ; for he who has once assumed this, has 
sworn allegiance to truth, and from that moment every 
other consideration, no matter of what kind, becomes base 
treachery. Therefore it was that Socrates did not shun 
the hemlock, nor Bruno the stake, while for a piece of 
bread these men will transgress. Are they too short 
sighted to see posterity close at hand, with the history of 
philosophy at its side, recording two lines of bitter con 
demnation with unflinching hand and iron pen in its im 
mortal pages ? Or has this no sting for them ? Well to 
be sure, if it comes to the worst, apres moi le deluge may be 
pronounced ; but as to apres moi le mepris, that is a more 
difficult matter. Therefore I fancy they will answer that 
austere judge as follows : " Ah, dear posterity and history 
of philosophy ! you are quite wrong to take us in earnest ; we 
are not philosophers at all, Heaven forbid ! No, we are only 
professors of philosophy, mere servants of the state, mere 
philosophers in jest. You might as well drag puppet-knights 
in pasteboard armour into a real tournament." Then the 
judge will most likely see how matters stand, erase all their 
names, and confer upon them the beneficiumperpetui silentii. 
From this digression to which I had been led away 
eighteen years ago, by the cant and time-serving I then 
witnessed, though they were not nearly as flourishing then 
as they are now I return to that part of my doctrine whieh 
Dr. Brandis has confirmed, though he did not originate 
it, in order to add a few explanations with which I shall 
then connect some further corroborations it has since 
received from Physiology. 


The three assumptions which are criticised by Kant in his 
Transcendental Dialectic under the names of Ideas of 
Reason, and have in consequence since been set aside in 
theoretical philosophy, had always stood in the way of a 
deeper insight into Nature, until that great thinker brought 
about a complete transformation in philosophy. That sup 
posed Idea of Eeason, the soul : that metaphysical being, in 
whose absolute singleness knowing and willing were knit 
and blended together to eternal, inseparable unity, was an 
impediment of this sort for the subject-matter of this 
chapter. As long as it lasted, no philosophical Physiology 
was possible : the less so, as its correlate, real, purely pas 
sive Matter, had necessarily also to be assumed together 
with it, as the substance of the body. 1 It was this Idea 
of Reason, the soul, therefore, that caused the celebrated 
chemist and physiologist, George Ernest Stahl, at the 
beginning of the last century to miss the discovery of 
the truth he so nearly approached and would have quite 
reached, had he been able to put that which is alone meta 
physical, the bare will as yet without intellect in the place 
of the anima rationalis. Under the influence of this Idea 
of Reason however, he could not teach anything but that 
it is this simple, rational soul which builds itself a body, all 
whose inner organic functions it directs and performs, yet 
has no knowledge or consciousness of all this, although 
knowledge is the fundamental destination and, as it were, 
the substance, of its being. There was something absurd in 
this doctrine which made it utterly untenable. It was super 
seded by Haller s Irritability and Sensibility, which, to be 
sure, are taken in a purely empircial sense, but, to make 
up for this, are also two qualitates occultce, at which all ex 
planation ceases. The movement of the heart and of the 
intestines was now attributed to Irritability. But the 
anima rationalis still remained in undiminished honour 

1 As a being existing by itself, a tiling in itself. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


and dignity as a visitor at the house of the body. 1 " Truth 
lies at the bottom of a well," said Democritus ; and the 
centuries with a sigh, have repeated his words. But small 
wonder, if it gets a rap on the knuckles as soon as it tries 
to come out ! 

The fundamental truth of my doctrine, which places 
that doctrine in opposition with all others that have ever 
existed, is the complete separation between the will and 
the intellect, which all philosophers before me had looked 
upon as inseparable ; or rather, I ought to say that they 
had regarded the will as conditioned by, nay, mostly even 
as a mere function of, the intellect, assumed by them to be 
the fundamental substance of our spiritual being. But this 
separation, this analysis into two heterogeneous elements, 
of the ego or soul, which had so long been deemed an indi 
visible unity, is, for philosophy, what the analysis of water 
has been for chemistry, though it may take time to be ac 
knowledged. With me, that which is eternal and inde 
structible in man, therefore, that which constitutes his vital 
principle, is not the soul, but if I may use a chemical term 
its radical : and this is the will. The so-called soul is 
already a compound : it is the union of the will and the 
intellect (VOVQ). This intellect is the secondary element, the 
posterius of the organism and, as a mere cerebral function, 
is conditioned by the organism ; whereas the will is what is 
primary, the prius of the organism, which is conditioned 
by it. For the will is that tiling in itself, which only be 
comes apparent as an organic body in our representation 
(that mere function of the brain) : it is only through the 
forms of knowledge (or cerebral function), that is, only in 
our representation not apart from that representation, not 
immediately in our self-consciousness that our body is 
given to each of us as a thing which has extension, limbs 

1 Iii which it is lodged in the garret. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


and organs. As the actions of our body are only acts 
of volition portraying themselves in representation, so 
likewise is their substratum, the shape of that body, in the 
main the portrait of the will : so that, in all the organic 
functions of our body, the will is just as much the agent 
as in its external actions. True Physiology, at its highest, 
shows the spiritual (the intellectual) in man to be the 
product of the physical in him, and no one has done this 
so thoroughly as Gabanis ; but true Metaphysic teaches 
us, that the physical in man is itself mere product, or 
rather phenomenon, of a spiritual (the will) ; nay, that 
Matter itself is conditioned by representation, in which 
alone it exists. Perception and reflection will more and 
more find their explanation through the organism ; but 
not the will, by which conversely the organism is ex 
plained, as I shall show in the following chapter. First 
of all therefore I place the will, as thing in itself and quite 
primary ; secondly, its mere visibility, its obj edification : 
i.e. the body ; thirdly, the intellect, as a mere function of 
one part of that body. This part is itself the objectified 
will to know (the will to know having entered into repre 
sentation), since the will needs knowledge to attain its 
own ends. Now the entire world as representation, to 
gether with the body itself therefore, inasmuch as it is a 
perceptible object, nay, Matter in general as existing only 
in representation, all this, I say, is again conditioned by 
that function ; for, duly considered, we cannot possibly 
conceive an objective world without a Subject, in whose 
consciousness it is present. Thus knowledge and matter 
(Subject and Object) exist only relatively one for the 
other and constitute phenomenon. The whole thing there 
fore, owing to the radical change made by me, stands in a 
different light from that in which it has hitherto been 

As soon as it is directed outwardly and acts upon a 


recognised object, as soon therefore as it has passed 
through the medium of knowledge, we all recognise the 
will at once to "be the active principle, and call it by its 
right name. Yet it is no less active in those inner pro 
cesses which have preceded such outward actions as their 
conditions : in those, for instance, which create and main 
tain organic life and its substratum ; and the circulation 
of the blood, secretion, digestion, &c. &c., are its work 
likewise. But just because the will was only recognised 
as the active principle in those cases in which it abandons 
the individual whence it proceeds, in order to direct itself 
towards the outer world now presenting itself pre 
cisely for this end, as perception knowledge has been 
taken for its essential condition, its sole element, nay, 
as the substance of which it consists : and hereby was 
perpetrated the greatest varepov Trporepov that has ever 

But before all things we must learn to distinguish will 
[TFiZZe] (voluntas) from free-will [Willkulir] (arbttrium) 1 
and to understand that the former can subsist without the 
latter; this however presupposes my whole philosophy. 
The will is called free-will when it is illumined by know 
ledge, therefore when the causes which move it are motives : 
that is, representations. Objectively speaking this means: 
when the influence from outside which causes the act, 
has a brain for its mediator. A motive may be defined 

1 By this Schopenhauer means the distinction between the will in its 
widest sense, regarded as the fundamental essence of all that happens, 
even where there is no choice, even where it is unconscious, and 
conscious will, implying deliberation and choice, commonly called free 
will. We must however carefully guard against confounding this relative 
free-will, with absolute free-will (libcmm arbitrium indiffcrentics), which 
Schopenhauer declares to be inadmissible. The sense in which I have 
used the expression free-will throughout this treatise, is that of rela 
tive freedom, i.e. power to choose between different motives, free of all 
outward restraint ( Willkuhr). (Tr.) 


as an external stimulus, whose action first of all causes 
an image to arise in the brain, through the medium of 
which the will carries out the effect proper an outward 
action of the body. Now, in the human species however, 
the place of such an image as this may be taken by a 
conception drawn from former images of this kind by 
dropping their differences, which conception consequently 
is no longer perceptible, but merely denoted and fixed by 
words. As the action of motives accordingly does not 
depend upon contact, they can try their power on the will 
against each other : in other words, they permit a certain 
choice which, in animals, is limited to the narrow sphere 
of that which has perceptible existence for them ; whereas, 
in man, its range comprises the vast extent of all that is 
thinkable: that is, of his conceptions. Accordingly we 
designate as voluntary those movements which are occa 
sioned, not by causes in the narrowest sense of the word, 
as in inorganic bodies, nor even by mere stimuli, as in 
plants, but by motives. 1 These motives however pre 
suppose an intellect as their mediator, through which 
causality here acts, without prejudice to its entire neces 
sity in all other respects. Physiologically, the diffe 
rence between stimulus and motive admits also of the 
following definition. The stimulus provokes immediate 
reaction, which proceeds from the very part on which 
the stimulus has acted ; whereas the motive is a stimulus 
that has to go a roundabout way through the brain, 
where its action first causes an image to arise, which 
then, but not till then, provokes the consequent reaction, 
which is now called an act of volition, and voluntary. The 
distinction between voluntary and involuntary movement 
does not therefore concern what is essential and primary 

1 I have shown the difference between cause in its narrowest sense, 
stimulus, and motive, at length in my " Grund-probleme der Ethik .* 
p. 29 et scq. 


for this is in both cases the will but only what is secon 
dary, the rousing of the will s manifestation : it has to 
do with the determination whether causes proper, stimuli 
or motives (i.e. causes having passed through the medium 
of knowledge) are the guidance under which that manifesta 
tion takes place. It is in human consciousness, differing 
from that of animals by not only containing perceptible 
representations but also abstract conceptions independent 
of time-distinctions, which act simultaneously and col 
laterally, whereby deliberation, i.e. a conflict of motives, 
becomes possible it is in human consciousness, I say, that 
free-will (arbitrium) in its narrowest sense first makes its 
appearance ; and this I have called elective decision. It 
nevertheless merely consists in the strongest motive for a 
given individual character overcoming the others and thus 
determining the act, just as an impact is overcome by a 
stronger counter-impact, the result thus ensuing with 
precisely the same necessity as the movement jof a stone 
that has been struck. That all great thinkers in all 
ages were decided and at one on this point, is just 
as certain, as that the multitude will never understand, 
never grasp, the important truth, that the work of our 
freedom must not be sought in our individual actions but 
in our very existence and nature itself. In my prize- 
essay on Freedom of the Will, I have shown this as 
clearly as possible. The liberum arbitrium indifferentice 
which is assumed to be the distinctive characteristic of 
movements proceeding from the will, is accordingly quite 
inadmissible : for it asserts that effects are possible without 

As soon therefore as we have got so far as to distinguish 
will \Wille\ from free-will [Willkuhr], and to consider 
the latter as a particular kind or particular phenomenon 
of the former, we shall find no difficulty in recognising the 
will, even in unconscious processes. Thus the assertion, 


that all bodily movements, even those which are purely 
vegetative and organic, proceed from the will, by no means 
implies that they are voluntary. For that would mean 
that they were occasioned by motives ; but motives are 
representations, and their seat is the brain: only those 
parts of our body which communicate with the brain by 
means of the nerves, can be put in movement by the brain, 
consequently by motives, and this movement alone is what 
is called voluntary. The movement of the inner economy 
of the organism, on the contrary, is directed, as in plant- 
life, by stimuli; only as, on the one hand, the complex 
nature of the animal organism necessitated an outer sen- 
sorium for the apprehension of the outer world and the 
will s reaction on that outer world, so, on the other hand, 
did it necessitate a cerebrum abdominale, the sympathetic 
nervous system, in order to direct the will s reaction upon 
inner stimuli likewise. We may compare the former to a 
Home Ministry, the latter to a Foreign Office ; but tho 
will remains the omnipresent Autocrat. 

The progress made in Physiology since Haller has placed 
beyond doubt, that not only those actions which are con 
sciously performed (functiones animales), but even vital 
processes that take place quite unconsciously (functiones 
vitales et naturales), are directed throughout by the nervous 
system. Likewise that their only difference, as far as 
our consciousness of them is concerned, consists in 
the former being directed by nerves proceeding from the 
brain, the latter by nerves that do not directly com 
municate with that chief centre of the nervous system 
mainly directed towards the outside but with sub 
ordinate, minor centres, with the nerve-knots, the ganglia 
and their net-work, which preside as it were like vice 
gerents over the various departments of the nervous 
system, directing those internal processes that follow upon 
internal stimuli, just as the brain directs the external 


actions that follow upon external motives, and thus receiv 
ing impressions from inside upon which they react corre 
spondingly, just as the brain receives representations 
on the strength of which it forms resolutions ; only each 
of these minor centres is confined to a narrower sphere of 
action. Upon this rests the vita propria of each system, 
in referring to which Van Helmont said that each organ 
has, as it were, its own ego. It accounts also for life con 
tinuing in parts which have been cut off the bodies of 
insects, reptiles, and other inferior animals, whose brain has 
no marked preponderance over the ganglia of single parts ; 
and it likewise explains how many reptiles are able to live 
for weeks, nay even months, after their brain has been re 
moved. Now, if our surest experience teaches us that the 
will, which is known to us in most immediate conscious 
ness and in a totally different way from the outer world, is 
the real agent in actions attended by consciousness and 
directed by the chief centre of the nervous system ; how 
can we help admitting that those other actions which, pro 
ceeding from that nervous system but obeying the direc 
tion of its subordinate centres, keep the vital processes 
constantly going, must also be manifestations of the will ? 
Especially as we know perfectly well the cause because of 
which they are not, like the others, attended by con 
sciousness : we know, that is to say, that all consciousness 
resides in the brain and therefore is limited to such parts 
as have nerves which communicate directly with the brain ; 
and we know also that, even in these, consciousness ceases 
when those nerves are severed. By this the difference 
between all that is conscious and unconscious and together 
with it the difference between all that is voluntary and in 
voluntary in the movements of the body is perfectly ex 
plained, and no reason remains for assuming two entirely 
different primary sources of movement : especially as prin- 
cipia prceter necessitatem non sunt multiplicanda. All this is 


so obvious, that, on impartial reflection from this standpoint, 
it seems almost absurd to persist in making the body serve 
two masters by deriving its actions from two radically dif 
ferent origins and then ascribing on the one hand the 
movements of our arms and legs, of our eyes, lips, throat, 
tongue and lungs, of the facial and abdominal muscles, to 
the will ; while on the other hand the action of the heart, 
the movements of the veins, the peristaltic movements of 
the intestines, the absorption by the intestinal villi and 
glands and all those movements which accompany secre 
tion, are supposed to proceed from a totally different, ever 
mysterious principle of which we have no knowledge, and 
which is designated by names such as vitality, archeus, 
spiritus animales, vital energy, instinct, all of which mean 
no more than a?. 1 

It is curious and instructive to see the trouble that 
excellent writer, Treviranus 3 takes, to find out in the 
lower animals, such as infusoria and zoophyta, which 
movements are voluntary, and which are what he calls auto 
matic or physical, i.e. merely vital. He founds his inquiry 
upon the assumption that he has to do with two primarily 
different sources of movement ; whereas in truth they all 
proceed from the will, and the whole difference consists in 

1 It is especially in secretive processes that we cannot avoid re 
cognising a certain selection of the materials fitted for each purpose, 
consequently a free will in the secretive organs, which must even be 
assisted by a certain dull sensation, and in virtue of which each secreting 
organ only extracts from the same blood that particular secretion which 
suits it and no others : for instance, the liver only absorbs bile from the 
blood flowing through it, sending the rest of the blood on, and likewise 
the salivary glands and the pancreas only secrete saliva, the kidneys 
only urine, &c. &c. We may therefore compare the organs of secretion 
to different kinds of cattle grazing on one and the same pasture-land, 
each of which only browses upon the one sort of herb which suits its own 
particular appetite. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 Treviranus, " Die Erscheinungen und Gesetze des Organischen 
Lebens," vol. L pp. 178-185. 


their being occasioned by stimuli or by motives, i.e. in their 
having a brain for their medium or not ; and the stimulus 
may again be merely interior or exterior. In several 
animals of a higher order crustaceans and even fishes 
he finds that the voluntary and vital movements, for in 
stance locomotion and respiration, entirely coincide: a 
clear proof that their origin and essence are identical. 
He says p. 188 : In the family of the actinia, star 
fishes, sea-urchins, and holothurice (echinodermata pedata 
Cuv.), it is evident that the movement of the fluids de 
pends upon the will of the animals and that it is a 
means of locomotion." Then again p. 288: "The gullet 
of mammals has at its upper end the pharynx, which 
expands and contracts by means of muscles resembling 
voluntary muscles in their formation, yet which do not 
obey the will." Here we see how the limits of the move 
ments proceeding from the will and of those assumed 
to be foreign to it, merge into one another. Ibid., p. 293 : 
"Thus movements having all the appearance of being 
voluntary, take place in the stomachs of ruminants. They 
do not however always stand in connection with the rumi 
nating process only. Even the simpler human stomach 
and that of many animals only allows free passage to what 
is digestible through its lower orifice, and rejects what is 
indigestible by vomiting." 

There is moreover special evidence that the movements 
induced by stimuli (involuntary movements) proceed from 
the will just as well as those occasioned by motives 
(voluntary movements) : for instance, when the same 
movement follows now upon a stimulus, now again 
upon a motive, as is the case when the pupil of the 
eye is contracted. This movement, when caused by in 
creased light, follows upon a stimulus; whereas, when 
occasioned by the wish to examine a very small object 
minutely in close proximity, it follows upon a motive ; be- 


cause contracting the pupil enables us to see things dis 
tinctly even when quite near to us, and this distinctness 
may be increased by our looking through a hole pierced 
in a card with a pin ; conversely, the pupil is dilated when 
we look at distant objects. Surely the same movement of 
the same organ is not likely to proceed alternately from 
two fundamentally different sources. E. H. Weber 1 re 
lates that he discovered in himself the power of dilating 
and contracting at will the pupil of one of his eyes, while 
looking at the same object, so as to make that object 
appear now distinct, now indistinct, while the other eye 
remained closed. Joh. Miiller 2 also tries to prove that the 
will acts upon the pupil. 

The truth that the innermost mainspring of uncon 
sciously performed vital and vegetative functions is the 
will, we find moreover confirmed by the consideration, that 
even the movement of a limb recognised as voluntary, is 
only the ultimate result of a multitude of preceding changes 
which have taken place inside that limb and which no more 
enter into our consciousness than those organic functions. 
Yet these changes are evidently that which was first set 
in motion by the will, the movement of the limb being merely 
their remote consequence ; nevertheless this remains so 
foreign to our consciousness that physiologists try to reach it 
by means of such hypotheses as these : that the sinews and 
muscular fibre are contracted by a change in the cellular 
tissue wrought by a precipitation of the blood-vapour in 
that tissue to serum ; but that this change is brought 
about by the nerve s action, and this by the will. Thus, 
even here, it is not the change which proceeded originally 
from the will which comes into consciousness, but only its 
remote result ; and even this, properly speaking, only through 

1 E. H. Weber, " Additamenta ad E. H. Weberi tractatum de motn 
iridis." Lipsia, 1823. 

2 Joh. Miiller, " Handbuch der Physiologic," p. 764. 


the special perception of the brain in which it presents 
itself together with the whole organism. Now by follow 
ing the path of experimental research and hypotheses phy 
siologists would never have arrived at the truth, that the 
last link in this ascending causal series is the will; it is 
known to them, on the contrary, in quite a different way. 
The solution of the enigma comes to them in a whisper 
from outside the investigation, owing to the fortunate cir 
cumstance that the investigator is in this case at the same 
time himself the object of the investigation and by this 
learns the secret of the inward process, his explanation of 
which would otherwise, like that of every other phenomenon, 
be brought to a standstill by an inscrutable force. And 
conversely, if we stood in the same inward relation towards 
every natural phenomenon a.s towards our own organism, 
the explanation of every natural phenomenon, as well as of 
all the properties of every body, would likewise ultimately 
be reduced to a will manifesting itself in them. For the 
difference does not reside in the thing itself, but in our re 
lation to the thing. Wherever explanation of the physical 
comes to an end, it is met by the metaphysical ; and where- 
ever this last is accessible to immediate knowledge, the 
result will be, as here, the will. That even those parts of 
the body whose movements do not proceed from the brain, 
do not follow upon motives, and are not voluntary, are 
nevertheless ruled and animated by the will, is also shown 
by their participation in all unusually violent movements of 
the will, i.e. emotions and passions. We see, for instance, 
the quickened pulse in joy or alarm, the blush in embarass- 
ment, the cheek s pallor in terror or in suppressed anger, 
the tears of sorrow, the difficult breathing and increased 
activity of the intestines in terror, watering of the mouth 
at the sight of dainties, nausea occasioned by that of loath 
some objects, strongly accelerated circulation of the blood 
and even altered quality of bile through wrath, and of 


saliva through violent rage : this last even to the degree, 
that an excessively irritated dog may communicate hydro 
phobia by its bite without being itself affected with rabies, 
or even then contracting the disease and the same is also 
asserted of cats and of cocks. The organism is further 
deeply undermined by lasting grief, and may be mortally 
affected by fright as well as by sudden joy. On the other 
hand, all those inner processes and changes which only 
have to do with the intellect and do not concern the will, 
however great may be their importance, remain without 
influence upon the machinery of the organism, with the 
one exception, that mental activity, prolonged to excess, 
fatigues and gradually exhausts the brain and finally under 
mines the organism. This again confirms the fact that the 
intellect is of a secondary character, and merely the organic 
function of a single part, a product of life ; not the inner 
most kernel of our being, not the thing in itself, not meta 
physical, incorporeal, eternal, like the will : the will never 
tires, never grows old, never learns, never improves by 
practice, is in infancy what it is in old age, eternally one 
and the same, and its character in each individual is un 
changeable. Being essential moreover, it is likewise im 
mutable, and therefore exists in animals as it does in us ; 
for it does not, like the intellect, depend upon the perfection 
of the organisation, but is in every essential respect in 
all animals the same thing which we know so intimately. 
Accordingly animals have all the feelings which belong to 
man: joy, grief, fear, anger, love, hate, desire, envy, &c. &c. 
The great difference between man and the brute creation 
consists exclusively in the degrees of perfection of the in 
tellect. This however is leading us too far from our sub 
ject, so I refer my readers to my chief work, vol. ii. chap. 
19, sub. 2. 

After the cogent reasons just given in favour of the 
primary agens in the inward machinery of the organism 


being the very same will which rules the outward actions 
of the body and only reveals itself as the will in this 
passage through consciousness because here it needs the 
mediation of outwardly directed knowledge, we shall not 
be astonished to find that other physiologists besides 
Brandis had, by means of strictly empirical research, also 
recognised this truth more or less clearly. Meckel, 1 in 
his "Archiv fur die Physiologic," arrives quite empiri 
cally and impartially at the conclusion, that vegetative 
existence [in animals], the first growth of the embryo, the 
assimilation of nourishment and plant-life, ought properly 
to be considered as manifestations of the will, nay, that 
even the inclination of the magnetic needle seems to be 
something of the same kind. " The assumption," he says, 
" of a certain free will in every vital movement may per 
haps be justified." " Plants appear to seek light volun 
tarily," &c. &c. This book is dated 1819 just after the 
appearance of my work ; and as, to say the least, it is doubt 
ful whether it had any influence upon him or whether he 
was even aware of its existence, I class these utterances 
among the independent empirical confirmations of my doc 
trine. Burdach also, 2 in his great work on Physiology, 
arrives by a completely empirical road at the conclusion, 
that " self-love is a force belonging to all things indiscrimi 
nately." He points it out, first in animals, then in plants, 
and lastly in inanimate bodies. But what is self-love after 
all, if not the will to preserve our existence, the will to 
live ? Under the heading " Comparative Anatomy," I shall 
quote a passage from the same book, which confirms my 
view still more decidedly. That the doctrine, which teaches 
that the will is the vital principle, has begun to spread even 
to the wider circles of medical science and to meet with a 
favourable reception from its younger representatives, t 

1 Meckel, " A. f. d. P." vol. 5, pp. 195-198. 

2 Burdach, Physiologic," vol. i. 259, p. 383. 


notice with particular pleasure in the theses sustained by 
Dr. Von Sigriz on taking his degree at Munich (August, 
1835), which commence as follows : 1. Sanguis est deter- 
minansformam organismi se evolventis. 2. Evolutio organicd 
determinatur vitce internee actione et voluntate. 

Lastly, a very remarkable and unexpected corroboration 
of this part of my doctrine has to be mentioned, which has 
recently been communicated from ancient Hindoo philo 
sophy by Colebrook. In his exposition of the philosophical 
schools of the Hindoos, 1 he quotes the following as the 
doctrine of the Nyaga school : " Volition, Yatna, effort or 
manifestation of the Will, is a self-determination to act 
which gives satisfaction. Desire is its occasion, perception 
its motive. Two kinds of perceptible effort of the will 
are distinguished : that which springs from desire which 
seeks the agreeable, and that which springs from aversion 
which shuns the repulsive. Another species, which escapes 
sensation and perception, but is inferred from analogy of 
spontaneous acts, comprises animal functions, having for 
a cause the vital, unseen power." Here the words " animal 
functions" are evidently used, not in a physiological, 
but in a popular sense : so that here organic life is un 
questionably derived from the will. We find a similar 
statement in Colebrook s Eeport on the Vedas 2 where he 
says : " Asu is unconscious volition, which occasions an act 
necessary to the support of life, as breathing, <fec." 

Moreover my reduction of vital energy to the will by no 
means interferes with the old division of its functions into 
reproductive force, irritability and sensibility. This divi 
sion remains a deep view of their difference, and gives 
occasion for interesting observations. 

The faculty of reproduction, objectified in the cellular 
tissue of plants, constitutes the chief characteristic of 

1 " Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Great Britain," 1824, p. 110. 
8 " Asiatic Researches, 3 vol. 8, p. 426. 


plants and the vegetative element in Man. Where we find 
it predominant to excess in human beings, we assume them 
to be phlegmatic, dull, indolent, obtuse (Boeotians) ; though 
this assumption does not always meet with confirmation. 
Irritability, objectified in the muscular tissue, constitutes 
the chief characteristic of Animals and the animal element 
in Man. Where it predominates to excess, dexterity, 
strength, bravery, that is, fitness for bodily exertion arid 
for war, is usually to be found (Spartans). Nearly all 
warm-blooded animals and even insects far surpass Man 
in irritability. It is by irritability that animals are most 
vividly conscious of their existence ; wherefore they exult 
in manifesting it. There is even still a trace of that exul 
tation perceptible in Man, in dancing. Sensibility, objec 
tified in the nerves, is Man s chief characteristic, and con 
stitutes what is properly human in him. In this no animal 
can in the remotest degree compare with Man. Where it 
predominates to excess, it produces genius (Athenians). 
Accordingly a man of genius is in a higher degree a man. 
This explains why some men of genius have been unwilling 
to recognise other men, with their monotonous physiog 
nomies and universal stamp of commonplace mediocrity, 
as human beings : for in them they did not find their 
equals and naturally came to the erroneous conclu 
sion that their own was the normal standard. Diogenes 
sought for men with a lantern in this sense ; in that work 
of genius, the Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) it is said : x " One 
man among a thousand have I found, but one woman 
among all those have I not found ; " and Gracian in his 
Criticon perhaps the grandest and most beautiful alle 
gory ever written says : " But what was strangest of 
all, in the whole country, even in the most populous cities, 
they did not meet with a single man ; on the contrary these 
cities were inhabited by lions, tigers, leopards, wolves, 
1 Ecclesiastes, ch. 7, v. 28. 


foxes, apes, oxen, asses, pigs, nowhere was there a man ! 
They only made out after a time that the few existing 
human beings, in order to hide themselves and not to wit 
ness what was going on, had retired to those desert places 
which ought to have been the dwellings of wild beasts." 
The same reason indeed accounts for the peculiar inclina 
tion of all men of genius for solitude, to which they are 
driven by their difference from the rest, and for which their 
own inner wealth qualifies them. For, with humanity it 
is as with diamonds, the extraordinarily great ones alone 
are fitted to be solitaires, while those of ordinary size have 
to be set in clusters to produce any effect. 

Even the three Gunas, or fundamental qualities of the 
Hindoos, tally with the three physiological fundamental 
forces. Tamas-Guna, obtuseness, stupidity, corresponds 
to reproductive power; Rajas- Guna, passionateness, to 
irritability; and Sattwa-Guna, wisdom and virtue, to sen 
sibility. When however they add to this, that Tanias- 
Guna is the fate of animals, Bajas-Guna the fate of man, 
and Sattwa-Guna that of the Gods, this is to be taken in a 
mythological, rather than physiological sense. 

In Chapter 20th of the 2nd Yol. of my chief work en 
titled " Ob j edification of the Will in the Animal Organism," 
I have likewise treated the argument of the present 
chapter ; therefore I advise my readers to read it after this, 
as a complement to what is here given. 1 

I may observe, that the passages I have quoted from 
pp. 14 and 15 of my Essay on Colours, refer to the first 

1 In my Parerga," 94 of the 2nd vol. ( 96 in the 2nd edition) 
belongs also to the above. 


NOW, from my proposition: that the Will is what 
Kant calls the " thing in itself " or the ultimate 
substratum of every phenomenon, I had however not 
only deduced that the will is the agent in all inner, un 
conscious functions of the body, but also that the organism 
itself is nothing but the will which has entered the 
region of representation, the will itself, perceived in the 
cognitive form of Space. I had accordingly said that, just 
as each single momentary act of willing presents itself 
at once directly and infallibly in the outer perception of 
the body as one of its actions, so also must the collective 
volition of each animal, the totality 2 of its efforts, be faith- 
fully portrayed in its whole body, in the constitution of its 
organism; and that the means supplied by its organisa 
tion for attaining the aims of its will must as a whole 
exactly correspond to those aims in short, that the same 
relation must exist between the whole character of its 
volition and the shape and nature of its body, as between 
each single act of its will and the single bodily action 
which carries it out. Even this too has recently been 
recognised as a fact, and accordingly been confirmed a 
posteriori, by thoughtful zootomists and physiologists from 
their own point of view and independently of my doctrine : 
their judgments on this point make Nature testify even 
here to the truth of my theory. 

1 Ding an sick, a Inlc-griff. 


In Pander and d Alton s admirable illustrated work l we 
find : " Just as all that is characteristic in the formation of 
bones springs from the character of the animals, so does 
that character, on the other hand, develop out of their 
tendencies and desires. These tendencies and desires 
of animals, which are so vividly expressed in their whole 
organisation and of which that organisation only appears 
to be the medium, cannot be explained by special primary 
forces, since we can only deduce their inner reason from 
the general life of Nature." By this last turn the author 
shows indeed that he has arrived at the point where, like 
all other investigators of Nature, he is brought to a stand 
still by the metaphysical; but he also shows, that up 
to this point beyond which Nature eludes investiga 
tion, tendencies and desires (i. e. will) were the utmost 
thing knowable. The shortest expression for his last 
conclusion about animals would be " As they will, so they 
are. * 

The learned and thoughtful Burdach, 2 when treating of 
the ultimate reason of the genesis of the embryo in his 
great work on Physiology, bears witness no less explicitly 
to the truth of my view. I must not, unfortunately, con 
ceal the fact that in a weak moment, misled Heaven knows 
by what or how, this otherwise excellent man brings in 
just here a few sentences taken from that utterly worthless, 
tyrannically imposed pseudo-philosophy, about thought 
being what is primary (it is just what is last and most 
conditioned of all) yet no representation (that is to say, 
a wooden iron). Immediately after however, under the 
returning influence of his own better self, he proclaims the 
real truth (p. 710) : " The brain curves itself outwards to 
the retina, because the central part .of the embryo desires 

1 Pander and d Alton, " Ueber die Skelette der Eaubtliiere," 1822, 
p. 7. 

2 Burdach, Pbysiologie," vol. 2, 474. 


to take in the impressions of the activity of the world ; the 
mucous membrane of the intestinal canal develops into the 
lung, because the organic body desires to enter into relation 
with the elementary substances of the universe ; organs of 
generation spring from the vascular system, because the 
individual only lives in the species, and because the life 
which has commenced in the individual desires to multiply." 
This assertion of Burdach s, which so entirely agrees 
with my doctrine, reminds me of a passage in the ancient 
Mahabharata, which it is really difficult not to regard as a 
mythical version of the same truth. It is in the third 
Canto of " Sundas and Upasunda " in Bopp s " Ardschuna s 
Eeise zu Indra s Himmel" l (1824); Brahma has just 
created Tilottama, the fairest of women, who is walking 
round the circle of the assembled gods. Shiva conceives 
so violent a longing to gaze at her as she turns successively 
round the circle, that four faces arise in him according to 
her different positions, that is, according to the four 
cardinal points. This may account for Shiva being repre 
sented with five heads, as Pansh Mukhti Shiva. Count 
less eyes arise on every part of Indra s body likewise 
on the same occasion. 2 In fact, every organ must be 
looked upon as the expression of a universal manifes 
tation of the will, i.e. of one made once for all, of a 
fixed longing, of an act of volition proceeding, not from 

1 Bopp, " Ardschuna s Keise zu Indra s Himmel, nebst anderen 
Episoden des Mahabharata " (Ardshuna s Journey to Indra s Heaven 
together with other episodes from the Mahabharata), 1824. 

2 The Matsya Parana attributes a similar origin to Brahma s fou 
countenances. It relates that, having fallen in love with his daughte 
Satarupa, and gazed fixedly at her, she stepped aside to avoid his eye ; 
he being ashamed, would not follow her movement 5 whereupon a new 
face arose on him directed towards the side where she was and, on her 
once more moving, the same thing occurred, and was repeated, until at 
last he had four faces. (" Asiatic Researches," vol. 6, p. 473.) [Add. to 
3rd ed.] 


the individual, but from the species. Every animal form 
is a longing of the will to live which is roused by circum 
stances ; for instance, the will is seized with a longing to 
live on trees, to hang on their branches, to devour their 
leaves, without contention with other animals and without 
ever touching the ground: this longing presents itself 
throughout endless time in the form (or Platonic Idea) of 
the sloth. It can hardly walk at all, being only adapted 
for climbing ; helpless on the ground, it is agile on 
trees and looks itself like a moss-clad bough in order to 
escape the notice of its pursuers. But now let us consider 
the matter from a somewhat more methodical and less 
poetical point of view. 

The manifest adaptation of each animal for its mode of 
life and outward means of subsistence, even down to the 
smallest detail, together with the exceeding perfection of its 
organisation, form abundant material for teleological con 
templation, which has always been a favourite occupation 
of the human mind, and which, extended even to inanimate 
Nature, has become the argument of the Physico-theological 
Proof. The universal fitness for their ends, the obviously 
intentional design in all the parts of the organism of the 
lower animals without exception, proclaim too distinctly 
for it ever to have been seriously questioned, that here no 
forces of Nature acting by chance and without plan have 
been at work, but a will. Now, that a will should act 
otherwise than under the guidance of knowledge was in 
conceivable, according to empirical science and views. For, 
up to my time, as has been shown in the last chapter, will 
and intellect had been regarded as absolutely inseparable, 
nay, the will was looked upon as a mere operation of the 
intellect, that presumptive basis of all that is spiritual. 
Accordingly wherever the will acted, knowledge must have 
been its guide; consequently it must have been its guide here 
also. But the mediation of knowledge, which, as such, is 


exclusively directed towards the outside, brings with it, that 
a will acting by means of it, can only act outwardly, that 
is, only from one being upon another. Therefore the will, 
of which unmistakable traces had been found, was not 
sought for where these were discovered, but was removed 
to the outside, and the animal became the product of a 
will foreign to it, guided by knowledge, which must 
have been very clear knowledge indeed, nay, the deeply ex 
cogitated conception of a purpose ; and this purpose must 
have preceded the animal s existence, and, together with 
the will, whose product the animal is, have lain outside that 
animal. According to this, the animal would have existed 
in representation before existing in reality. This is the 
basis of the train of thought on which the Physico-theo- 
logical Proof is founded. But this proof is no mere 
scholastic sophism, like the Ontological Proof : nor does it 
contain an untiring natural opponent within itself, like the 
Cosmological Proof, in that very same law of causality to 
which it owes its existence. On the contrary, it is, in 
reality, for the educated, what the Keraunological Proof l 
is for the vulgar, 2 and its plausibility is so great, so potent, 
that the most eminent and at the same time least preju 
diced minds have been deeply entangled in it. Voltaire, 
for instance, who, after all sorts of other doubts, always 
comes back to it, sees no possibility of getting over it and 
even places its evidence almost on a level with that of a 

1 I should like under this name to add a fourth to the three proofs 
brought forward by Kant, i.e. the proof a terrore, which the ancient 
saying of Petronius : primus in orbe Decs fecit timer, designates and of 
which Hume s incomparable " Natural History of Religion " may be 
considered as the critique. Understood in this sense, even the theologist 
Schleiermacher s attempted proof might have its truth from the feeling 
of dependence, though perhaps not exactly that truth which its originator 
imagined it to have. 

2 Socrates propounded it already in detail in Xenophon. (" Mem." 
i. 4.) [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


mathematical demonstration. Even Priestley too declares it 
to be irrefutable. 1 Hume s reflection and acumen alone stood 
the test, even in this case ; in his " Dialogues on Natural 
Religion, " 2 which are so well worth reading, this true pre 
cursor of Kant calls attention to the fact, that there is no 
resemblance at all between the works of Nature and those 
of an Art which proceeds according to a design. Now it 
is precisely where he cuts asunder the nervus probandi of 
this extremely insidious proof, as well as that of the two 
others in his Critique of Judgment and in his Critique of 
Pure Reason that Kant s merit shines most brilliantly. 
A very brief summary of this Kantian refutation of the 
Physico-theological Proof may be found in my chief work. 3 
Kant has earned for himself great merit by it ; for nothing 
stands so much in the way of a correct insight into Nature 
and into the essence of things as this view, by which they 
are looked upon as having been made according to a precon 
ceived plan. Therefore, if a Duke of Bridgewater offers 
a prize of high value for the confirmation and perpetuation 
of such fundamental errors, let it be our task, following in 
the footsteps of Hume and Kant, to work undauntedly at 
their destruction, without any other reward than truth. 
Truth deserves respect : not what is opposed to it. Never 
theless here, as elsewhere, Kant has confined himself to 
negation ; but a negation only takes full effect when it has 
been completed by a correct affirmation, this alone giving 
entire satisfaction and in itself dislodging and superseding 
error, according to the words of Spinoza : Sicut lux se ipsa 
et tenebras manifestat, sic veritas norma sui et falsi est. 
First of all therefore we say : the world is not made with 
the help of knowledge, consequently also not from the out- 

1 Priestley, "Disqu. on Matter and Spirit," sect. 16, p. 188. 

2 Part 7, and in other places. 

3 See "Die Welt ak W. u. V." vol. i. p. 597. (Yol. i. p. 631 of the 
3rd ed.) 



side, but from the inside ; and next we endeavour to point 
out the punctum saliens l of the world-egg. The physico- 
theological thought, that Nature must have been regu 
lated and fashioned by an intellect, however well it may 
suit the untutored mind, is nevertheless fundamentally 
wrong. For the intellect is only known to us in animal 
nature, consequently as an absolutely secondary and 
subordinate principle in the world, a product of the latest 
origin ; it can never therefore have been the condition of 
the existence of that world. 2 Now the will on the contrary, 
being that which fills every thing and manifests itself 
immediately in each thus showing each thing to be its 
phenomenon appears everywhere as that which is primary. 
It is just for this reason, that the explanation of all teleo- 
logical facts is to be found in the will of the being itself in 
which they are observed. 

Besides, the Physico -theological Proof may be simply 
invalidated by the empirical observation, that works pro 
duced by animal instinct, such as the spider s web, the bee s 
honeycomb and its cells, the white ant s constructions, &c, 
&c., are throughout constituted as if they were the result 
of an intentional conception, of a wide-reaching providence 
and of rational deliberation; whereas they are evidently 
the work of a blind impulse, i.e. of a will not guided by 
knowledge. From this it follows, that the conclusion from 
such and such a nature to such and such a mode of coming 
into being, has not the same certainty as the conclusion 
from a consequent to its reason, which is in all cases a 
sure one. I have devoted the twenty- seventh chapter of the 
second volume of my chief work to a detailed consideration 

1 The point at which the life -spark is kindled. [Tr.] 
8 Nor can a mundus tntelligibilis precede a mundus sensibilis; since it 
receives its material from the latter alone. It is not an intellect which 
has brought forth Nature j it is, on the contrary, Nature which has 
brought forth the intellect. [Add. to 3rd ed. 


of the mechanical instincts of animals, which may be used, 
together with the preceding one on Teleology, to complete 
the whole examination of this subject in the present chapter. 
Now, if we enter more closely into the above-mentioned 
fitness of every animal s organisation for its mode of life 
and means of subsistence, the question that first presents 
itself is, whether that mode of life has been adapted to the 
organisation, or vice versa. At first sight, the former as 
sumption would seem to be the more correct one ; since, 
in Time, the organisation precedes the mode of life, and 
the animal is thought to have adopted the mode of 
existence for which its structure was best suited, making 
the best use of the organs it found within itself : thus, for 
instance, we think that the bird flies because it has wings, 
and that the ox butts because it has horns ; not conversely. 
This view is shared by Lucretius (always an ominous sign 
for an opinion) : 

" Nil ideo quoniam natum est in corpore, ut uti 
Possemus ; sed, quod natum est, id procreat us urn." l 

Only this assumption does not explain how, collectively, the 
quite different parts of an animal s organism so exactly 
correspond to its way of lif e ; how no organ interferes with 
another, each rather assisting the others and none re 
maining unemployed; also that no subordinate organ 
would be better suited to another mode of existence, while 
the life which the animal really leads is determined by the 
principal organs alone, but, on the contrary, each part of 
the animal not only corresponds to every other part, but 
also to its mode of life: its claws, for instance, are in 
variably adapted for seizing the prey which its teeth are 
suited to tear and break, and its intestinal canal to digest : 
its limbs are constructed to convey it where that prey is to 
be found, and no organ ever remains unemployed. The 

1 This is expanded, vol. iy. pp. 825-843. 


ant-bear, for instance, is not only armed with long claws 
on its fore-feet, in order to break into the nests of the 
white ant, but also with a prolonged cylindrical muzzle, 
in order to penetrate into them, with a small mouth and a 
long, threadlike tongue, covered with a glutinous slime, 
which it inserts into the white ants nests and then with 
draws covered with the insects that adhere to it : on the 
other hand it has no teeth, because it does not want them. 
Who can fail to see that the ant-bear s form stands in the 
same relation to the white ants, as an act of the will to its 
motive ? The contradiction between the powerful fore-feet 
and long, strong, curved claws of the ant-bear and its com 
plete lack of teeth, is at the same time so extraordinary, 
that if the earth ever undergoes a fresh transformation, 
the newly arising race of rational beings will find it an 
insoluble enigma, if white ants are unknown to them. 
The necks of birds, as of quadrupeds, are generally as 
long as their legs, to enable them to reach down to the 
ground where they pick up their food ; but those of aquatic 
birds are often a good deal longer, because they have to 
fetch up their nourishment from under the water while 
swimming. 1 Moor-fowl have exceedingly long legs, to 
enable them to wade without drowning or wetting their 
bodies, and a correspondingly long neck and beak, this last 
being more or less strong, according to the things (reptiles, 
fishes or worms) which have to be crushed ; and the 
intestines of these animals are invariably adapted likewise 
to this end. On the other hand, moor-fowl are provided 
neither with talons, like birds of prey, nor with web-feet, 

1 I have seen (Zooplast. Cab. I860) a humming-bird (colibri) with a 
beak as long as the whole bird, head and tail included. This bird must 
certainly have had to fetch out its food from a considerable depth, were 
it only from the calyx of a flower (Cuvier, "Anat. Comp." vol. iv. 
p. 374) ; otherwise it would not have given itself the luxury, or submitted 
to the encumbrance, of such a beak. 


like ducks : for the lex parsimonice natures admits of no 
superfluous organ. Now, it is precisely this very law, 
added to the circumstance, that no organ required for its 
mode of life is ever wanting in any animal, and that 
all, even the most heterogeneous, harmonize together and 
are, as it were, calculated for a quite specially determined 
way of life, for the element in which the prey dwells, for 
the pursuit, the overcoming, the crushing and digesting of 
that prey, all this, we say, proves, that the animal s 
structure has been determined by the mode of life by 
which the animal desired to find its sustenance, and not 
vice versa. It also proves, that the result is exactly the 
same as if a knowledge of that mode of life and of its 
outward conditions had preceded the structure, and as if 
therefore each animal had chosen its equipment before it 
assumed a body; just as a sportsman before starting 
chooses his whole equipment, gun, powder, shot, pouch, 
hunting-knife and dress, according to the game he intends 
chasing. The latter does not take aim at the wild boar 
because he happens to have a rifle : he took the rifle with 
him and not a fowling-piece, because he intended to hunt 
the wild boar ; and the ox does not butt because it happens 
to have horns: it has horns because it intends to butt. 
Now, to render this proof complete, we have the additional 
circumstance, that in many animals, during the time they 
are growing, the effort of the will to which a limb is 
destined to minister, manifests itself before the existence 
of the limb itself, its employment thus anticipating its 
existence. Young he-goats, rams, calves, for instance, 
butt with their bare polls before they have any horns ; 
the young boar tries to gore on either side, before its 
tusks are fully developed which would respond to the 
intended effect, while on the other hand, it neglects to use 
the smaller teeth it already has in its mouth and with 
which it might really bite. Thus its mode of defending 


itself does not adapt itself to the existing weapons, but 
vice versa. This had already been noticed by Galenas 1 
and by Lucretius 2 before him. All these circumstances 
give us complete certainty, that the will does not, as a 
supplementary thing proceeding from the intellect, employ 
those instruments which it may happen to find, or use the 
parts because just they and no others chance to be there ; 
but that what is primary and original, is the endeavour to 
live in this particular way, to contend in this manner, an 
endeavour which manifests itself not only in the employ 
ment, but even in the existence of the weapon : so much 
so indeed, that the use of the weapon frequently precedes 
its existence, thus denoting that it is the weapon which 
arises out of the existence of the endeavour, not, con 
versely, the desire to use it out of the existence of the 
weapon. Aristotle expressed this long ago, when he said, 
with reference to insects armed with stings : 3 Sia. TO Qvnov 
t\eiv oir\ov t ^a (quia, iram Jiabent, arma habent), and further 
on, generally speaking : * Ta tT opyava TT^OQ TO epyov / 0vVtc 
TToiel, aXX ov TO tpyov ir/oog TO. ooyava. (Natura enim instru- 
inenta ad qfficium, non officium ad instrumenta accommodaf). 
From which it follows, that the structure of each animal 
is adapted to its will. 

This truth forces itself upon thoughtful zoologists and 
zootomists with such cogency, that unless their mind is at 
the same time purified by a deeper philosophy, it may lead 
them into strange errors. Now this actually happened to 
a very eminent zoologist, the immortal De Lamarck, who 
has acquired everlasting fame by his discovery of the clas- 

1 Galenus, " De Usu Partium Anim.," i. 1. 

2 Lucretius, v. pp. 1032-1039. 

3 Aristot., "De Part. Animal.," iv. 6 : " They have a weapon because 
they have passion." [Tr.] 

4 Ibid. c. 12 : "Nature makes the tools for the work, not the work 
for the tools." [Tr.] 


sification of animals in vertebrata and non-vertebrata, so 
admirable in depth of view. For he quite seriously main 
tains and tries to prove x at length, that the shape of each 
animal species, the weapons peculiar to it, and its organs 
of every sort destined for outward use, were by no means 
present at the origin of that species, but have on the 
contrary come into being gradually in the course of time 
and through continued generation, in consequence of the 
exertions of the animal s will, evoked by the nature 
of its position and surroundings, through its own re 
peated efforts and the habits to which these gave rise. 
Aquatic birds and mammalia that swim, he says, have 
only become web-footed through stretching their toes 
asunder in swimming ; moor-fowl acquired their long legs 
and necks by wading; horned cattle only gradually acquired 
horns because as they had no proper teeth for combating, 
they fought with their heads, and this combative propen 
sity in course of time produced horns or antlers ; the snail 
was originally, like other mollusca, without feelers ; but 
out of the desire to feel the objects lying before it, these 
gradually arose ; the whole feline species acquired claws 
only in course of time, from their desire to tear the flesh 
of their prey, and the moveable coverings of those claws, 
from the necessity of protecting them in walking without 
being prevented from using them when they wished ; the 
giraffe, in the barren, grassless African deserts, being re 
duced for its food to the leaves of lofty trees, stretched 
out its neck and forelegs until at last it acquired its sin 
gular shape, with a height in front of twenty feet, and thus 
De Lamarck goes on describing a multitude of animal 
species as arising according to the same principle, in doing 
which he overlooks the obvious objection which may be 
made, that long before the organs necessary for its preser- 

1 De Lamarck, " Philosophie Zoologique," vol. i. c. 7, and " Histoire 
Naturelle des Auimaux sans Vertebres," vol. i. Introd. pp. 180-212. 


vation could have been produced by means of such endea 
vours as these through countless generations, the whole 
species must have died out from the want of them. To 
such a degree may we be blinded by a hypothesis which 
has once laid hold of us ! Nevertheless in this instance the 
hypothesis arose out of a very correct and profound view 
of Nature : it is an error of genius, which in spite of all 
the absurdity it contains, still does honour to its originator. 
The true part of it belongs to De Lamarck, as an investi 
gator of Nature ; he saw rightly that the primary element 
which has determined the animal s organisation, is the will 
of that animal itself. The false part must be laid to the 
account of the backward state of Metaphysics in France, 
where the views of Locke and of his feeble follower, Con- 
dillac, in fact still hold their ground and therefore bodies 
are held to be things in themselves, Time and Space quali 
ties of things in themselves ; and where the great doctrine 
of the Ideal nature of Space and of Time and of all that 
is represented in them, which has been so extremely fertile 
in its results, has not yet penetrated. De Lamarck there 
fore could not conceive his construction of living beings 
otherwise than in Time, through succession. Errors of 
this sort, as well as the gross, absurd, atomic theory of the 
French and the edifying physico-theological considerations 
of the English, have been banished for ever from Germany 
by Kant s profound influence. So salutary was the effect 
produced by this great mind, even upon a nation capable of 
subsequently forsaking him to run after charlatanism and 
empty bombast. But the thought could never enter into 
De Lamarck s head, that the animal s will, as a thing in 
itself, might lie outside Time, and in this sense be prior to 
the animal itself. Therefore he assumes the animal to 
have first been without any clearly defined organs, but also 
without any clearly defined tendencies, and to have been 
equipped only with perception. Through this it learns to 


know the circumstances in which it has to live and from 
that knowledge arise its desires, i.e. its will, from which 
again spring its organs or definite embodiment ; this last 
indeed with the help of generation and therefore in bound 
less Time. If De Lamarck had had the courage to carry 
out his theory fully, he ought to have assumed a primary 
animal l which, to be consistent, must have originally had 
neither shape nor organs, and then proceeded to trans 
form itself according to climate and local conditions into 
myriads of animal shapes of all sorts, from the gnat to 
the elephant. But this primary animal is in truth the 
will to live ; as such however, it is metaphysical, not phy 
sical. Most certainly the shape and organisation of each 
animal species has been determined by its own will accord 
ing to the circumstances in which it wished to live ; not 
however as a thing physical in Time, but on the contrary 
as a thing metaphysical outside Time. The will did not 
proceed from the intellect, nor did the intellect exist, 
together with the animal, before the will made its appear 
ance as a mere accident, a secondary, or rather tertiary, 
thing. It is on the contrary the will which is the prius, 
the thing in itself : its phenomenon (mere representation 
in the cognitive intellect and its forms of Space and Time) 
is the animal, fully equipped with all its organs which 
represent the will to live in those particular circumstances. 
Among these organs is the intellect also knowledge itself 
which, like the rest of those organs, is exactly adapted to 
the mode of life of each animal; whereas, according to 
De Lamarck, it is the will which arises out of knowledge. 
Behold the countless varieties of animal shapes ; how en 
tirely is each of them the mere image of its volition, the 
evident expression of the strivings of the will which con 
stitute its character ! Their difference in shape is only the 
portrait of their difference in character. Ferocious animals, 
1 Urthier. 


destined for combat and rapine, appear armed with for 
midable teeth and claws and strong muscles ; their sight 
is adapted for great distances, especially when they have 
to mark their prey from a dizzy height, as is the case with 
eagles and condors. Timid animals, whose will it is to 
seek their safety in flight instead of contest, present them 
selves with light, nimble legs and sharp hearing in lieu of 
all weapons ; a circumstance which has even necessitated a 
etr iking prolongation of the outer ear in the most timid of 
them all, the hare. The interior corresponds to the exte 
rior : carnivorous animals have short intestines ; herbivo 
rous animals long ones, suited to a protracted assimilation. 
Yigorous respiration and rapid circulation of the blood, 
represented by appropriate organs, always accompany 
great muscular strength and irritability as their necessary 
conditions, and nowhere is contradiction possible. Each 
particular striving of the will presents itself in a particular 
modification of shape. The abode of the prey therefore 
has determined the shape of its pursuer : if that prey takes 
refuge in regions difficult of access, in remote hiding 
places, in night or darkness, the pursuer assumes the form 
best suited to those circumstances, and no shape is rejected 
as too grotesque by the will to live, in order to attain its 
ends. The cross-bill (loxia curvirostra) presents itself with 
this abnormal form of its organ of nutrition, in order to 
be able to extract the seeds out of the scales of the fir 
cone. Moor-fowls appear equipped with extra long legs, 
extra long necks and extra long beaks, in short, the 
strangest shapes, in order to seek out reptiles in their 
marshes. Then we have the ant-bear with its body four 
feet long, its short legs, its strong claws, and its long, 
narrow, toothless muzzle provided with a threadlike, gluti 
nous tongue for the purpose of digging out the white ants 
from their nests. The pelican goes fishing with a huge 
pouch under its beak in which to pack its fish, when 


caught. In order to surprise their prey while asleep in 
the night, owls fly out provided with enormous pupils 
which enable them to see in the dark, and with very soft 
feathers to make their flight noiseless and thus permit 
them to fall unawares upon their sleeping prey without 
awakening it by their movements. Silurus, gymnotus and 
torpedo bring a complete electric apparatus into the world 
with them, in order to stun their prey before they can 
reach it ; and also as a defence against their own pursuers. 
For wherever anything living breathed, there immediately 
came another to devour it, 1 and every animal is in a way 
designed and calculated throughout, down to the minutest 
detail, for the purpose of destroying some other animal. 
Ichneumons, for instance, among insects, lay their eggs in 
the bodies of certain caterpillars and similar larvce, in 
which they bore holes with their stings, in order to ensure 
nourishment for their future brood. Now those kinds which 
feed on larvce that crawl about freely, have short stings not 
more than about one-third of an inch long, whereas pimpla 
manifestator, which feeds upon chelostoma maxillosa, whose 
larvce lie hidden in old trees at great depth and are not 
accessible to it, has a sting two inches long ; and the sting 
of the ichneumon strobillce which lays its eggs in larvcp, 
dwelling in fir-cones, is nearly as long. With these stings 
they penetrate to the larva in which they bore a hole 
and deposit one egg, whose product subsequently de- 

1 Animated by the feeling of this truth, Kobert Owen, after passing 
in review the numerous and often very large Australian fossile marsupi- 
alia sometimes as big as the rhinoceros came as early as 1842 to the 
conclusion, that a large beast of prey must have contemporaneously 
existed. This conclusion was afterwards confirmed, for in 1846 he 
received part of the fossile skull of a beast of prey of the size of the lion, 
which he named thylacoleo, i.e. lion with a pouch, since it is also a 
marsupial. (See the " Times " of the 19th of May, 1866, where there 
is an article on " Palaeontology," with an account of Owen s lecture 
at the Government School of Mines. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


vours this larva. 1 Just as clearly does the will to escape 
their enemies manifest itself in the defensive equipment 
of animals that are the objects of pursuit. Hedgehogs 
and porcupines raise up a forest of spears; armadillos, 
scaly ant-eaters and tortoises appear cased from head to 
foot in armour which is inaccessible to tooth, beak or 
claw ; and so it is, on a smaller scale, with the whole class 
of Crustacea. Others again seek protection by deceiving 
their pursuers rather than by resisting them physically: 
thus the sepia has provided itself with materials for 
surrounding itself with a dark cloud on the approach of 
danger. The sloth is deceptively like its moss-clad bough, 
and the frog its leaf; and many insects resemble their 
dwelling-places. The negro s louse is black; 2 so, to be 
sure, is our flea also ; but the latter, in providing itself 
with an extremely powerful apparatus for making irregular 
jumps to a considerable distance, trusted to these for pro 
tection. We can however make the anticipation in all 
these arrangements more intelligible to ourselves by the 
same anticipation which shows itself in the mechanical 
instincts of animals. Neither the young spider nor the 
ant-lion know the prey for which they lay traps, when 
they do it for the first time. And it is the same when 
they are on the defensive. According to Latreille, the 
insect bombex kills the parnope with its sting, although it 
neither eats it nor is attacked by it, simply because the 
parnope will lay its eggs in the bombex*s nest, and by 
doing this will interfere with the development of its eggs ; 
yet it does not know this. Anticipations of this kind once 
more confirm the ideal nature of Time, which indeed 
always becomes manifest as soon as the will as thing 

1 Kirby and Spence, "Introduction to Entomology," vol. i. p. 355. 
[Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 Blumenbach, "De hum. gen. variet. nat." p. 50. Sommeriog, 
On the Negro," p. 8. 


in itself is in question. Not only with" respect to the 
points here mentioned, but to many others besides, the 
mechanical instincts and physiological functions of animals 
serve to explain each other mutually, because the will 
without knowledge is the agent in both. 

As the will has equipped itself with every organ and 
every weapon, offensive as well as defensive, so has it like 
wise provided itself in every animal shape with an intellect, 
as a means of preservation for the individual and the 
species. It was precisely in this account that the ancients 
called the intellect the ^yf/zovt/coV, i.e. the guide and leader. 
Accordingly the intellect, being exclusively destined to 
serve the will, always exactly corresponds to it. Beasts 
of prey stood in greater need of intellect, and in fact 
have more intelligence, than herbivorous animals. The 
elephant certainly forms an exception, and so does even 
the horse to a certain extent ; but the admirable in 
telligence of the elephant was necessary on account of the 
length of its life (200 years) and of the scantiness of its 
progeny, which obliged it to provide for a longer and surer 
preservation of the individual : and this moreover in coun 
tries teeming with the most rapacious, the strongest and 
the nimblest beasts of prey. The horse too has a longer life 
| and a scantier progeny than the ruminants, and as it has 
neither horns, tusks, trunk, nor indeed any weapon save 
perhaps its hoofs, it needed greater intelligence and swift 
ness in order to elude pursuit. Monkeys needed their extra 
ordinary intelligence, partly because of the length of their 
life, which even in the moderate-sized animal extends to 
fifty years ; partly also because of their scanty progeny, 
which is limited to one at a time, but especially because of 
their hands, which, to be properly used, required the direc 
tion of an understanding. For monkeys depend upon 
their hands, not only for their defence by means of outer 
weapons such as sticks and stones, but also for their 


nourishment, this last necessitating a variety of artificial 
means and a social and artificial system of rapine in general, 
the passing from hand to hand of stolen fruit, the placing 
of sentinels, &c. &c. Add to this, that it is especially in 
their youth, before they have attained their full muscular 
development, that this intelligence is most prominent. In 
the pongo or ourang-outang for instance, the brain plays 
a far more important part and the understanding is much 
greater during its youth than at its maturity, when the 
muscular powers having attained full development, they 
take the place of the proportionately declining intellect. 
This holds good of all sorts of monkeys, so that here there 
fore the intellect acts for a time vicariously for the yet un 
developed muscular strength. We find this process dis 
cussed at length in the " Eesume des Observations de Fr. 
Cuvier sur 1 instinct et 1 intelligence des animaux," par 
Mourens (1841), from which I have quoted the whole pas 
sage referring to this question in the second volume of my 
chief work, at the end of the thirty-first chapter, and this is 
my only reason for not repeating it here. On the whole, intel 
ligence gradually increases from the rodents x to the rumi 
nants, from the ruminants to the pachyderms, and from 
these again to the beasts of prey and finally to the quad- 
rumana, and anatomy shows a gradual development of the 

1 That the lowest place should be given to the rodents, seems however 
to proceed from & priori rather than from & posteriori considerations : 
that is to say, from the circumstance, that their brain has extremely 
faint or small convolutions ; so that too much weight may have been 
given to this point. In sheep and calves the convolutions are numerous 
and deep, yet how is it with their intelligence ? The mechanical instincts 
of the beaver are again greatly assisted by its understanding, and even 
rabbits show remarkable intelligence (see Leroy s beautiful work : [ 
"Letters Philosophiques sur 1 Intelligence des Animaux," lettre 3, p.J 
149). Even rats give proof of quite uncommon intelligence, of which 
some remarkable instances may be found in the " Quarterly RerieWjH 
No. 201, Jan.-March, 1857, in a special article entitled " Rats." 


brain in similar order which corresponds to this result of 
external observation. (According to Flourens and Fr. 
Cuvier.) l Among the reptiles, serpents are the most intelli 
gent, for they may even be trained ; this is so, because they 
are beasts of prey and propagate more slowly than the rest 
especially the venomous ones. And here also, as with the 
physical weapons, we find the will everywhere as the prius ; 
its equipment, the intellect, as the posterius. Beasts of prey 
do not hunt, nor do foxes thieve, because they have more 
intelligence ; on the contrary, they have more intelligence, 
just as they have stronger teeth and claws too, because 
they wished to live by hunting and thieving. The fox even 
made up at once for his inferiority in muscular power and 
strength of teeth by the extraordinary subtility of his un 
derstanding. Our thesis is singularly illustrated by the case 
of the bird dodo or dronte (didus ineptus) on the island 
of Mauritius, whose species, it is well known, has died out, 
and which, as its Latin name denotes, was exceedingly 
stupid, and this explains its disappearance ; so that here 
it seems indeed as if Nature had for once gone too far 
in her lex parsimonice and thereby in a sense brought 
forth an abortion in the species, as she so often does in the 
individual, which was unable to subsist, precisely because 
it was an abortion. If, on this occasion, anyone were to 
raise the question as to whether Nature ought not to have 
provided insects with at least sufficient intelligence to pre 
vent them from flying into the flame of a candle, our 
answer would be : most certainly ; only she did not know 
that men would make candles and light them, and natura 
nihil agit frustra. Insect intelligence is therefore only in 
sufficient where the surroundings are artificial. 2 

1 The most intelligent birds are also birds of prey, wherefore many ot 
them,especially falcons, are highly susceptible of training. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

a That the negroes should have become the special victims of the 
slave-trade, is evidently a consequence of the inferiority of their intelli 


Everywhere indeed intelligence depends in the first in 
stance upon the cerebral system, and this stands in a ne 
cessary relation to the rest of the organism ; therefore cold 
blooded animals are greatly inferior to warm-blooded ones, 
and invertebrate animals to vertebrata. But the organism is 
precisely nothing but the will become visible, to which, as 
that which is absolutely prius, everything constantly refers. 
The needs and aims of that will give in each phenomenon 
the rule for the means to be employed, and these means 
must harmonize with one another. Plants have no self- 
consciousness because they have no power of locomotion ; 
for of what use would self-consciousness be to them unless 
it enabled them to seek what was salutary and flee what 
was noxious to them ? And conversely, of what use could 
power of locomotion be to them, as they have no self-con 
sciousness with which to guide it. The inseparable duality 
of Sensibility and Irritability does not yet appear there 
fore in the plant ; they continue slumbering in the repro 
ductive force which is their fundament, and in which alone 
the will here objectifies itself. The sun-flower, and every 
other plant, wills for light ; but as yet their movement to 
wards light is not separate from their apprehension of it, 
and both coincide with their growth. Human understand 
ing, which is so superior to that of all other beings, and is 
assisted by Eeason (the faculty for non-perceptible repre 
sentations, i.e. for conceptions ; reflection, thinking faculty), 
is nevertheless only just proportionate, partly to Man s 
requirements, which greatly surpass those of animals and 
multiply to infinity ; partly to his entire lack of all natural 
weapons and covering, and to his relatively weaker mus 
cular strength, which is greatly inferior to that of monkeys 
of his own size ; l lastly also, to the slowness with which his 

gence compared with that of other human races j though this by no means 
justifies the fact. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

1 As is likewise his capacity for escaping from his pursuers ; fbr in 


race multiplies and the length of his childhood and life, 
which demand secure preservation of the individual. All 
these great requirements had to be satisfied by means of 
intellectual powers, which, for this reason, predominate in 
him. But we find the intellect secondary and subordinate 
everywhere, and destined exclusively to serve the purposes 
of the will. As a rule too, it always remains true to its 
destiny and subservient to the will. How nevertheless, 
it frees itself in particular instances from this bondage 
through an abnormal preponderance of cerebral life, whereby 
purely objective cognition becomes possible which may be 
enhanced to genius, I have shown at length in the aesthetic 
part of my chief work. 1 

Now, after all these reflections upon the precise agree 
ment between the will and the organisation of each animal, 
if we inspect a well-arranged osteological collection from 
this point of view, it will certainly seem to us as if we 
saw one and the same being (De Lamarck s primary 
animal, or, more properly, the will to live) changing its 
shape according to circumstances, and thus producing all 
this multiplicity of forms out of the same number and 
arrangement of its bones, by prolonging and curtailing, 
strengthening and weakening them. This number and 
arrangement of the bones, which Geoffrey de St. Hilaire 2 
called the anatomical element, continues, as he has tho 
roughly shown, in all essential points unchanged: it 
is a constant magnitude, something which is absolutely 
given beforehand, irrevocably fixed by an unfathomable 
necessity an immutability which I should compare with 
the permanence of matter in all physical and chemical 

this respect all the four-footed mammalia surpass him. [Add. to 
3rd ed.] 

1 [See Third Book of the W. a. W. u. V. ; later also, in my " Parerga," 
vol. ii. 50-57 and 206. ( 51-58, and 210 of the 2nd edition.) 

2 " Principes de Philosophic Zoologique," 1830. 



changes : but to this I shall soon return. Conjointly with 
this immutability of the anatomical element, we have the 
greatest susceptibility to modification, the greatest plas 
ticity and flexibility of these same bones with reference 
to size, shape and adaptation to different purposes, all 
which we see determined by the will with primary 
strength and freedom according to the aims prescribed 
to it by external circumstances: it makes out of these 
materials whatever its necessity for the time being requires. 
If it desires to climb about in trees, it catches at the 
boughs at once with four hands, while it stretches the ulua 
and radius to an excessive length and immediately prolongs 
the os coccygis to a curly tail, a yard long, in order to hang 
by it to the boughs and swing itself from one branch to 
another. If, on the other hand, it desires to crawl in the 
mud as a crocodile, to swim as a seal, or to burrow as a 
mole, these same arm-bones are shortened till they are no 
longer recognisable ; in the last case the metacarpus and 
phalanges are enlarged to disproportionately large shovel- 
paws, to the prejudice of the other bones. But if it wishes 
to fly through the air as a bat, not only are the os humeri, 
radius and alnus prolonged in an incredible manner, but 
the usually small and subordinate carpus, metacarpus and 
2^halanges digitorum expand to an immense length, as in 
St. Anthony s vision, outmeasuring the length of the 
animal s body, in order to spread out the wing-membrane. 
If, in order to browse upon the tops of very tall African 
trees, it has, as a giraffe, placed itself upon extraordinarily 
high fore-legs, the same seven vertebra? of the neck, which 
never vary as to number and which, in the mole, were con 
tracted so as to be no longer recognisable, are now pro 
longed to such a degree, that here, as everywhere else, the 
neck acquires the same length as the fore-legs, in order to 
enable the head to reach down to drinking-water. But where, 
as is the case when it appears as the elephant, a long neck 


could not have borne the weight of the enormous, unwieldy 
head a weight increased moreover by tusks a yard long 
the neck remains short, as an exception, and a trunk 
is let down as an expedient, to lift up food and draw 
water from below and also to reach up to the tops of 
trees. In accordance with these transformations, we see 
in all of them the skull, the receptacle containing the 
understanding, at the same time proportionately expand, 
develop, curve itself, as the mode of procuring nourish 
ment becomes more or less difficult and requires more 
or less intelligence ; and the different degrees of the under 
standing manifest themselves clearly to the practised eye 
in the curves of the skull. 

Now, in all this, that anatomical element we have men 
tioned above as fixed and invariable, certainly remains in 
so far an enigma, as it does not come within the teleolo- 
gical explanation, which only begins after the assump 
tion of that element ; since the intended organ might 
in many cases have been rendered equally suitable for its 
purpose even with a different number and disposition of 
bones. It is easy to understand, for instance, why the 
human skull should be formed out of eight bones: that 
is, to enable them to be drawn together by the fontanels 
during birth ; but we do not see why a chicken which 
breaks through its egg-shell should necessarily have the 
same number of skull-bones. We must therefore assume 
this anatomical element to be based, partly on the unity 
and identity of the will to live in general, partly on the 
circumstance, that the archetypal forms of animals have 
proceeded one from the other, 1 wherefore the fundamental 
type of the whole race was preserved. It is this ana 
tomical element which Aristotle means by his dvceyxata 
and the mutability of its shapes according to diffe- 

1 " Parerga," vol. ii. 91 ; 93 of the 2nd edition. 


rent purposes lie calls TJJV /caret \6yov fyvai*? and explains 
by it how the material for upper incisors has been employed 
for horns in horned cattle. Quite rightly : since the only 
ruminants which have no horns, the camel and the musk- 
ox, have upper incisors, and these are wanting in all 
horned ruminants. 

No other explanation or assumption enables us nearly as 
well to understand either the complete suitableness to 
purpose and to the external conditions of existence I have 
here shown in the skeleton, or the admirable harmony and 
fitness of internal mechanism in the structure of each. 
animal, as the truth I have elsewhere firmly established : 
that the body of an animal is precisely nothing but the will 
itself of that animal brought to cerebral perception as 
representation through the forms of Space, Time and 
Causality in other words, the mere visibility, objectivity 
of the Will. For, if this is once pre-supposed, everything 
in and belonging to that body must conspire towards the 
final end : the life of this animal. Nothing superfluous, 
nothing deficient, nothing inappropriate, nothing insuffi 
cient or incomplete of its kind, can therefore be found in 
it ; on the contrary, all that is required must be there, 
and just in the proportion needed, never more. For 
here artist, work and materials are one and the same. 
Each organism is therefore a consummate master-piece of 
exceeding perfection. Here the will did not first cherish 
the intention, first recognise the end and then adapt the 
means to it and conquer the material ; its willing was 
rather immediately the aim and immediately the attain 
ment of that aim; no foreign appliances needing to be 
overcome were wanted willing, doing and attaining were 
here one and the same. Thus the organism presents itself 
as a miracle which admits of no comparison with any work 

1 See Aristotle, " De Partibus Animalium," iii. c, 2 sub fin&m : irwg 
t T~IC avayKdiaQ (pvaewg K. T, X. 


of human artifice wrought by the lamplight of know 
ledge. 1 

Our admiration for the consummate perfection and fit 
ness for their ends in all the works of Nature, is at the 
bottom based upon our viewing them in the same light as 
we do our own works. In these, in the first place, the will 
to do the work and the work are two different things ; 
then again two other things lie between these two : firstly, 
the medium of representation, which, taken by itself, is 
foreign to the will, through which the will must pass 
before it realizes itself here; and secondly the material 
foreign to the will here at work, on which a form foreign 
to it has to be forced, which it resists, because the 
material already belongs to another will, that is to say, 
to its own nature, its forma substantialis, the (Platonic) 
idea, expressed by it : therefore this material has first 
to be overcome, and however deeply the artificial form 
may have penetrated, will always continue inwardly resist- 

1 The appearance of every animal therefore presents a totality, a 
unity, a perfection and a rigidly carried out harmony in all its parts 
which is so entirely based upon a single fundamental thought, that even 
the strangest animal shape seems to the attentive observer as if it were 
the only right, nay, only possible form of existence, and as if there 
could be no other than just this very one. The expression " natural " 
used to denote that a thing is a matter of course, and that it cannot be 
otherwise, is in its deepest foundation based upon this. Gothe himself 
was struck by this unity when contemplating whelks and crabs at Venice, 
and it caused him to exclaim : " How delightful, how glorious is a living 
thing ! how well adapted for its condition ; how true, how real ! " 
(" Life," vol. iv. p. 223). No artist therefore, who has not made it bis 
business to study such forms for years and to penetrate into their meaning 
and comprehension, can rightly imitate them. Without this study his 
work will seem as if it were pasted together : the parts no doubt will be 
there, but the bond which unites them and gives them cohesion, the 
spirit, the idea, which is the objectivity of the primary act of the will 
presenting itself as this or that particular species, will be wanting. 
[Add. to 3rd ed.] 


ing. It is quite a different thing with Nature s works, 
which are not, like our own, indirect, but on the contrary, 
direct manifestations of the will. Here the will acts in its 
primordial nature, that is, unconsciously. No mediating 
representation here separates the will and the work : they 
are one. And even the material is one with them : for 
matter is the mere visibility of the will. Therefore here 
we find Matter completely permeated by Form ; or, better 
still, they are of quite the same origin, only existing 
mutually one for the other ; and in so far they are 
one. That we separate them in works of Nature as 
well as in works of Art, is a mere abstraction. Pure 
Matter, absolutely without Form or quality, which we 
think as the material of a product of Nature, is merely 
an ens rationis and cannot enter into any experience; 
whereas the material of a work of Art is empirical 
Matter, consequently already has a Form. The [distinc 
tive] character of Nature s products is the identity of form 
and substance; that of products of Art the diversity of 
these two. 1 It is because Matter is the mere visibility of 
Form in Nature s products, that, even empirically, we see 
Form appear as a mere production of Matter, bursting 
forth from, its inside in crystallisation, in vegetable and 
animal generatio cequivoca, which last cannot be doubted, 
at any rate in the epizoa. 2 For this reason we may even 
assume that nowhere, either on any planet or satellite, will 
Matter come to a state of endless repose, but rather that 

1 It is a great truth which Bruno expresses (" De Immense et Innu- 
merabili," 8, 10) : " Ars tractat materiam alienam : natura materiam 
propriam. Ars circa materiam est ; natura interior matcrics" He treats 
this subject much more fully, ts Delia Causa," Dial. 3, p. 252 et seqq. Page 
255 he declares the forma substantiate to be the form of every product 
of Nature, which is the same as the soul. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

a Thus the saying of the Schoolmen is verified : " Materia appetit 
formam." See " Die Welt a. W. u. V." 3rd edition, vol. ii. p. 352. 
[Add. to 3rd ed.] 


its inherent forces (i.e. the will, whose mere visibility it 
is) will always put an end again to the repose which has 
commenced, always awaking again from their sleep, to 
resume their activity as mechanical, physical, chemical, 
organic forces ; since at all times they only wait for the 
opportunity to do so. 

But if we want to understand Nature s proceeding, we 
must not try to do it by comparing her works with our 
own. The real essence of every animal form, is an act of 
the will outside representation, consequently outside its 
forms of Space and Time also; which act, just on that 
account, knows neither sequence nor juxtaposition, but has, 
on the contrary, the most indivisible unity. But when our 
cerebral perception comprehends that form, and still more 
when its inside is dissected by the anatomical knife, then 
that which originally and in itself was foreign to know 
ledge and its laws, is brought under the light of know 
ledge ; but then also, it has to present itself in conformity 
with the laws and forms of knowledge. The original unity 
and indivisibility of that act of the will, of that truly 
metaphysical being, then appears divided into parts lying 
side by side and functions following one upon another, 
which all nevertheless present themselves as connected to 
gether in closest relationship one to another for mutual 
help and support, as means and ends one to the other. 
The understanding, in thus apprehending these things, now 
perceives the original unity re-establishing itself out of a mul 
tiplicity which its own form of knowledge had first brought 
about, and involuntarily taking for granted that its own 
way of perceiving this is the way in which this animal form 
comes into being, it is now struck with admiration for the 
profound wisdom with which those parts are arranged, 
those functions combined. This is the meaning of Kant s 
great doctrine, that Teleology is brought into Nature by 
our own understanding, which accordingly wonders at a 


miracle of its own creation. 1 If I may use a trivial simile 
to elucidate so sublime a matter, this astonishment very 
much resembles that of our understanding when it discovers 
that all multiples of 9, when their single figures are added 
together, give as their product either the number 9 or one 
whose single figures again make 9 ; yet it is that very 
understanding itself which has prepared for itself this sur 
prise in the decimal system. According to the Physico- 
theological argument, the actual existence of the world has 
been preceded by its existence in an intellect : if the world 
is designed for an end, it must have existed as representa 
tion before it came into being. Now I say, on the con 
trary, in Kant s sense : if the world is to be representation, 
it must present itself as designed for an end; and this 
only takes place in an intellect. 

It undoubtedly follows from my doctrine, that every 
being is its own work. Nature, which is incapable of false 
hood and is as native as genius, asserts the same thing down 
right ; since each being merely kindles the spark of life at 
another exactly similar being, and then makes itself before 
our eyes, taking the materials for this from outside, form 
and movement from its own self: this process we call 
growth and development. Thus, even empirically, each 
being stands before us as its own work. But Nature s 
language is not understood because it is too simple. 

1 Compare " Die Welt a. W. u. V." 3rd edition, vol. II. p. 375. 
[Add. to 3rd edj 


THE corroborations I am now about to bring forward 
of the phenomenon of the will in plants, proceed 
chiefly from French sources, from a nation whose tenden 
cies are decidedly empirical and which is reluctant to 
go a step beyond what is immediately given. The infor 
mant moreover is Cuvier, whose rigid adherence to the 
purely empirical gave rise to the famous dispute between 
him and Geoffroy de St. Hilaire. So we must not be as 
tonished if the language we meet with here is less decided 
than in the preceding German corroborations and if we find 
each concession made with cautious reserve. 

In his "Histoire des Progres des Sciences Naturelles 
depuis 1789 jusqu a ce jour," l Cuvier says : " Plants have 
certain apparently spontaneous movements, which they 
show under certain circumstances and which at times so 
closely resemble those of animals, that a sort of feeling 
and will might almost be attributed to plants on this 
account, especially by those who think they can perceive 
something of the same kind in the movements of the 
inward parts of animals. Thus the tops of trees always 
have a vertical tendency, excepting when they incline 
towards the light. Their roots seek out good earth 
and moisture and, in order to attain these, deviate from 
the straight course. Yet these different tendencies can 
not be explained by the influence of external causes, 

1 Vol. i. p. 245. 1826. 


unless we also assume the existence of an inner natural 
disposition, susceptible of being roused, which differs from 

the mere mechanical force in inorganic bodies 

Decandolle made some remarkable experiments that proved 
to him the existence of a sort of habit in plants which 
may be overcome by artificial light, but only after a certain 
time. Plants that had been shut up in a cellar which was 
continually lit by lamps, did not on this account leave off 
closing in the evening and opening again in the morning 
for several days. And there are other habits besides which 
plants are able to adopt and to abandon. Flowers that 
habitually close in wet weather, finish by remaining open 
if the wet weather lasts too long. When M. Desfontaines 
took a sensitive -plant with him in his carriage, the jolting 
movement at first caused it to contract, but at last it ex 
panded again as when in complete repose. Therefore 
even in these cases, light, moisture, &c., &c., only act in 
virtue of an inner disposition, which may be neutralized or 
modified by the continuation of that very activity itself ; 
and the vital energy of plants, like that of animals, is sub 
ject to fatigue and exhaustion. The hedysarum gyrans is 
singularly characterized by the movements of its leaves 
which continue day and night without needing any sort of 
stimulus. Surely, if any phenomenon can cause illusion 
and remind us of the voluntary movements of animals, it 
is this. Broussonet, Silvestre, Gels and Halle have fully 
described it, and have shown that the plant s action depends 
entirely upon its own healthy condition." 

Again, in the third volume of the same work, p. 166 
(1828), Cuvier says : " M. Dutrochet adds some physiolo 
gical considerations to which his own experiments had led 
him, and which in his opinion prove that the movements of 
plants are spontaneous, i.e. that they depend upon an inner 
principle which immediately receives the influence of outer 
agencies. As he is however reluctant to admit that plants 


have feeling, lie makes use of the word nervimotilite. " 
Here I must observe, that when we come to examine it 
closely, what we think to ourselves in the conception of 
spontaneity, is in the end always the same thing as manifes 
tation of will, with which spontaneity would therefore be 
simply synonymous. The only difference -between them 
consists in the conception of spontaneity being derived from 
outer perception, while that of manifestation of will is 
drawn from our own consciousness. I find a remarkable 
instance of the impetuous violence of this spontaneity, even 
in plants, in the following communication contained in the 
" Cheltenham Examiner : " x " Last Thursday four enor 
mous mushrooms performed a heroic feat of a new kind, in 
one of our most crowded streets, by lifting up a huge block 
of stone in their strenuous effort to make their way into 
the visible world." 

In the " Mem. de 1 Acad. d. Sciences de 1 annee " (1821), 
Cuvier says 2 : " For centuries botanists have been search 
ing for the reason why in a seed which is germinating the 
root invariably grows downwards, while the stalk as 
invariably grows upwards, no matter what be the posi 
tion in which the seed is placed. M. Dutrochet put some 
seeds into holes bored in the bottom of a vessel filled 
with damp mould, which he hung up to a beam in his 
room. Now, in this case, the stem might have been 
expected to grow downwards. Not at all : the roots found 
their way to the air below, and the stems were prolonged 
so as to traverse the damp mould until they reached its 
upper surface. According to M. Dutrochet, the direction 
in which plants grow, is determined by an inner principle 
and not at all by the attraction of the bodies towards 
which they direct themselves. A mistletoe seed that was 
fastened to the point of a perfectly moveable needle fixed 

1 Repeated in the " Times" of June 2nd, 1841. 

2 Vol. v. p. 171. Paris, 1826. 


on a peg, with a small plank placed near it, was induced 
to germinate. It soon began to send out shoots towards 
the plank, which it reached in five days without having 
communicated the slightest movement to the needle. The 
stems of onions and leeks with their bulbs, deposited in 
dark places, grow upwards, although more slowly than in 
light ones : they grow upwards even if placed in water : a 
fact which suffices to prove that neither light nor moisture 
determines the direction of their growth." Still C. II. 
Schultz asserts l that he made seeds germinate in a dark 
box with holes bored in the bottom, and succeeded in 
inducing the plants to grow upside down, by means of 
a mirror fastened to the box, which reflected the sun 

In the " Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles" (article 
Animal) we find: "If, on the one hand, animals show 
avidity in their search after nourishment as well as power 
of discrimination in the selection of it, roots of plants may, 
on the other hand, be observed to direct themselves 
towards the side where the soil contains most nourish 
ment, nay, even to seek out the smallest crevices in rocks 
which may contain any food. If we twist a bough so as 
to make the upper surface of its leaves the under one, 
these leaves even will twist their stems in order to regain 
the position best suited for the exercise of their functions 
(i.e. so as to have the smooth side uppermost). Is it quite 
certain that this takes place unconsciously ? " 

F. J. Meyen has devoted a chapter, entitled " Of the 
movements and sensations of plants," to a full investiga 
tion of the subject now before us. In this he says 2 : 
" Not unfrequently potatoes, stored in deep, dark cellars, 

1 C. H. Schultz, " Sur la Circulation dans les Plantes," a prize-essay, 

8 F. J. Meyen," Neues System der Pflanzenphysiologe " (1839), vol. iii, 
p. 585. 


may be observed towards summer to shoot forth stems 
which invariably grow in the direction of the chinks 
through which the light comes into the cellar, and to con 
tinue thus growing until they at last reach the aperture 
which receives the light directly. In such cases potato- 
stalks have been known to reach a length of twenty feet ; 
whereas under ordinary circumstances, even such as are 
most favourable to the growth of the potato, the stalk is 
seldom longer than from three to four feet. It is inte 
resting to watch closely the course taken by a potato- 
stalk thus growing in darkness, in its endeavours to reach 
the light. It tries to do so by the shortest road, but not 
being firm enough to grow straight across through the air 
without support, it lets itself drop on to the floor, and 
thus creeps along the ground till it reaches the nearest 
wall, up which it then climbs." Even this botanist too is 
led by his facts to the following assertion (p. 576) : " On 
observing the freedom of movement of oscillatoria and 
other inferior plants, we may perhaps have no alternative 
but to attribute a species of will to these beings." 

Creepers bear distinct evidence as to manifestation of 
will in plants ; for, when they find no support near 
enough for their tendrils to cling to, they invariably direct 
their growth towards the shadiest place, or even towards a 
piece of dark-coloured paper, wherever it may be placed ; 
whereas they avoid glass, on account of its glitter. In the 
" Philosophical Transactions " of 1812, Th. Andrew Knight 
relates some very pleasing experiments on this subject 
(especially with ampelopsis quinquefolia,) 1 although he 
strives hard to explain the matter mechanically, and will 
not admit that it is a manifestation of will. I appeal to his 
experiments, not to the conclusions he draws from them. 
A good test might be, to plant several free creepers in a 

1 These have been translated for the " Bibliotheque Britanniquc, 
Section des Sciences et Arts," vol. Hi 


circle round a tree-trunk and to observe whether they all 
crept towards the trunk centripetally. On the 6th Nov. 
1843, Dutrochet read a treatise on this subject in the 
" Acad. de Sciences " called " Sur les Mouvements E-evolutifs 
spontanes chez les Vegetaux," which, notwithstanding its 
great length, is well worth reading, and is published 
among the "Cornptes rendus des Seances de 1* Academic 
des Sciences " for Nov. 1843. The result is, that in pisum 
sdtivum (green pea), in bryonia alba (wild bryony) and in 
cucumis sativus (cucumber) the stems of those leaves 
which bear the tendrils, describe a very slow circular 
movement in the air, the time in which they complete an 
ellipsis varying from one to three hours according to tem 
perature. By this movement they seek at random for 
solid bodies round which, when found, they twine their 
tendrils ; these then support the plant, it being unable to 
stand by itself without help. That is, they do the same 
thing as the eyeless caterpillar, which when seeking a leaf 
describes circles in the air with the upper part of its body. 
Dutrochet contributes a good deal of information too con- 
cerning other movements in plants in this treatise : for 
instance, that stylidium graminifolium in New Holland, 
has a column in the middle of its corolla which bears the 
anthers and stigma and alternately folds up and unfolds 
again. What Treviranus adduces is to the same effect :* 
In parnassia palustris and in ruta graveolens, the stamina 
incline one after the other, in saxifraga tridactylites in 
pairs, towards the stigma, and erect themselves again in. 
the same order." Shortly before however, we read in 
Treviranus with reference to this subject : " Of all appa 
rently voluntary movements of plants, the direction of 
their boughs and of the upper surface of their leaves 
towards the light and towards moist heat, and the twining 

1 Treviranus, " Die Erscheinungen und Gesetze des Organischen 
Lebens " (Phenomena and Laws of Organic Life), vol. i. p. 1 73. 


movements of creepers round their supports, are the most 
universal. In this last phenomenon especially there is 
something which resembles animal movements. While 
growing, creepers, it is true, if left to themselves, describe 
circles with their tips and by this means reach an object 
near at hand. But it is no merely mechanical cause that 
induces them to adapt their growth to the form of the 
object they have thus reached. The cuscuta does not 
twine round every kind of support : for instance, limbs of 
animals, dead vegetable matter, metals and inorganic sub- 
stances are not used for this purpose, but only living 
plants, and not even all kinds not mosses, for instance 
only those from which it can extract nourishment by its 
papillae; and these attract it from a considerable distance." 1 
The following special observation, communicated to the 
" Farmer s Magazine," and reproduced by the " Times " 
(13th July 1848) under the title "Vegetable Instinct," is 
however still more to the point : "If a basin of water be 
placed within six inches of a young pumpkin- stalk, or of a 
stem of the large garden pea, no matter on what side, the 
stalk will approach the basin during the night and it will be 
found next morning with one of its leaves floating on the 
water. This experiment may be renewed every night till 
the plant begins to fructify. Even if its position be 

1 Brandis, " On Life and Polarity," 1836, p. 88, says : " The roots 
of rock-plants seek nourishing mould in the most delicate crevices of 
rocks. These roots cling to a nourishing bone in dense clusters. I saw 
a root whose growth was intercepted by the sole of an old shoe : it 
divided itself into as many fibres as the shoe-sole had holes those by 
which it had been stitched together but as soon as these fibres had 
overcome the obstruction apd grown through the holes, they united 
again to a common stem." And p. 87 : " If Sprengel s observations are 
confirmed, even mediate relations are perceived (by plants) in order to 
obtain this end (fructification) : that is to say, the anthers of the nigdla, 
bend down in order to put the pollen on the bees backs, and the pistils 
bend in like manner to receive it from the bees. [Add. to 3rd ed.l 


changed every day, a stick fixed upright; within six inches 
of a young convolvulus is sure to be found by the plant. 
If, after having wound itself for a certain distance round 
the stick, it is unwound and wound round again in the 
opposite direction, it will return to its original position 
or lose its life in the endeavour to do so. Nevertheless, 
if two such plants grow close to one another without 
having any stick near enough for them to cling to it, 
one of them will change the direction of its winding and 
they will twine round each other. Duhamel placed some 
Italian beans in a cylinder filled with moist earth ; after a 
little while they began to germinate and naturally sent 
their plumula upwards in the direction of the light and 
their radicula downwards into the mould. After a few 
days the cylinder was turned round to the extent of a 
quarter of its circumference and the same process was 
repeated until it had been turned completely round. The 
beans were then removed from the earth, when it was 
found that both plumula and radicula had twisted at 
each turn that had been given, in order to adapt them 
selves to it, the one endeavouring to rise perpendicularly, 
the other to descend, so that they had formed a complete 
spiral. Yet, notwithstanding this natural tendency to 
descend, when the soil below is too dry, roots will grow 
upwards in order to reach any moist substance which may 
be lying higher than themselves." 

In Froriep s " Memoranda " for 1833 (No. 832) there is 
a short article upon the locomotivity of plants : in poor 
soil, where good mould lies near at hand, many plants will 
send out a shoot into the good mould ; after a time the 
original plant then withers, but the offshoot prospers and 
itself becomes the plant. By means of this process, a 
plant has been known to climb down from a wall. 

In the same periodical (1835, No. 981) is to be found a 
communication from Professor Daubeny, of Oxford (taken 


from the " Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal," April- 
July, 1835), in which he shows with certainty, by means of 
new and very careful experiments, that roots of plants 
have, at any rate to a certain degree, the power to make 
choice from those substances in the soil which present 
themselves to their surface. 1 

1 In this connection I may mention an analysis of an entirely different 
kind, given by the French Academician Babinet in an article in which 
he treats of the seasons on the planets. It is contained in the No, of 
the 15th January, 1856, of the "Kevue des Deux Mondes," and I will 
give the chief substance of it here in translation. The object of it is to 
refer to its direct cause the well-known fact, that cereals only thrive in 
temperate climates. " If grain did not necessarily perish in winter, if it 
were perennial, it would not bear ears, and there would be no harvest. 
In the hotter portions of Africa, Asia and America, where no winter 
kills the grain, these plants grow like grass with us : they multiply by 
means of shoots, remain always green, and neither form ears nor run to 
seed. In cold climates, on the contrary, the organism of these plants 
seems by some inconceivable miracle to feel, as it were by anticipation, 
the necessity of passing through the seed-phase in order to escape dying 
off in the winter season (L organisme de la plante, par un inconcevable 
miracle, semble presscntir la necessity de passer par Vttat de graine, pour 
ne pas prir compUtement pendant la saison rigoureiise). In a similar 
way, districts which have a " droughty season," that is to say a season 
in which all plants are parched up with drought " tropical countries, for 
instance Jamaica, produce grain j because there the plant, moved by the 
same organic presentiment (par le meme pressentiment organique), in 
order to multiply, hastens to bear seed at the approach of the season in 
which it would have to dry up." In the fact which this author describes 
as an inconceivable miracle, we recognise a manifestation of the plant s 
will in increased potency, since here it appears as the will of the species, 
and makes preparations for the future in a similar way to animal instinct, 
without being guided by knowledge of that future in doing so. Here 
we see plants in warmer climates dispensing with a complicated process 
to which a cold climate alone had obliged them. In similar instances 
animals do precisely the same thing, especially bees. Leroy in his 
admirable work " Lettres Philosophiques sur 1 Intelligence des Animaux " 
(3rd letter, p. 231) relates, that some bees which had been taken to 
South America continued at first to gather honey as usual and to build 
their cells just as when they were at home ; but that when they gradually 



Finally I will not omit to observe, that even so early an 
authority as Plato 1 had attributed desires, EirtdvpCac, i.e. 
will, to plants. In my chief work, 2 however, I have entered 
into the doctrines of the Ancients on this point, and the 
chapter there which treats of this subject may on the 
whole serve to complete the present one. 

The reluctance and reserve with which we see the 
authors here quoted make up their minds to acknowledge 
the will, which nevertheless undoubtedly manifests itself 
in plants, comes from their being still hampered by the 
old opinion, that consciousness is a requisite and con 
dition of the will: now it is evident that plants have 
no consciousness. The thought never entered into the 
heads of these naturalists, that the will might be the prius 
and therefore independent of the intellect, with which, 
as the posterius, consciousness first makes its appear 
ance. As for knowledge or representation, plants have 
something merely analogous to it, a mere substitute for it ; 
whereas they really have the will itself quite directly : for, 
as the thing in itself, it is the substratum of their phe 
nomenal being as well as of every other. Taking a rea 
listic view, starting accordingly from the objective, the 
matter might even be stated as follows : That which lives 
and moves in plant-nature and in the animal organism, 

became aware that plants blossom there all the year round, they left off 
working. The animal world supplies a fact analogous to the above 
mentioned change in the mode of multiplying in cereals. This is the 
abnormal mode of propagation for which the aphides have long been 
noted. The female aphide, as is well known, propagates for 10-12 
generations without any pairing with the male, and by a variety of the 
ovoviviparous process. This goes on all summer; but in autumn the 
maks appear, impregnation takes plaee, and eggs are laid as winter 
quarters for the whole species, since it is c*nly in this shape that it is 
able to outlive the winter. (Add. to 3rd ed.) 

1 Plat. " Tim." p. 403. Bip. 

a Die Welt. a. W. u. V," vol. ii. chap. 23. 


when it lias gradually enhanced itself in the scale of beings 
sufficiently for the light of knowledge to fall directly upon 
it, presents itself in this newly arising consciousness as 
will, and is here more immediately, consequently better, 
known than anywhere else. This knowledge therefore 
must supply the key for the comprehension of all that is 
lower in the scale. For in this knowledge the thing in 
itself is no longer veiled by any other form than that of the 
most immediate apprehension. It is this immediate appre 
hension of one s own volition which has been called the 
inner sense. In itself the will is without apprehension, and 
remains so in the inorganic and vegetable kingdoms. Just 
as the world would remain in darkness, in spite of the sun, 
if there were no bodies to reflect its light ; or as the mere 
vibration of a string can never become a sound without air 
or even without some sort of sounding-board : so likewise 
does the will first become conscious of itself when know 
ledge is added to it. Knowledge is, as it were, the 
sounding-board of the will, and consciousness the tone it 
produces. This becoming conscious of itself on the part of 
the will, was attributed to a supposed inner sense, because 
it is the first and most direct knowledge we have. The 
various emotions of our own will can alone be the object of 
this inner sense; for the process of representation itself 
cannot over again be perceived, but, at the very utmost, 
only be once more brought to consciousness in rational 
reflection, that second power of representing : that is, in 
abstracto. Therefore also, simple representation (intui 
tion) is to thinking proper that is, to knowing by 
means of abstract conceptions what willing in itself is to 
becoming aware of that willing, i.e. to consciousness. For 
this reason, a perfectly clear and distinct consciousness, not 
only of our own existence but also of the existence of 
others, only arises with the advent of Reason (the faculty 
for conceptions), which raises Man as far above the brute, 


as the merely intuitive faculty of representation raises the 
brute above the plant. Now beings which, like plants, 
have no faculty for representation, are called unconscious, 
and we conceive this condition as only slightly differing 
from non-existence ; since the only existence such beings 
have, is in the consciousness of others, as the representation 
of those others. They are nevertheless not wanting in 
what is primary in existence, the will, but only in what is 
secondary ; still, what is primary and this is after all the 
existence of the thing in itself appears to us, without 
that secondary element, to pass over into nullity. We are* 
unable directly and clearly to distinguish unconscious exis 
tence from non-existence, although we have our own ex 
perience of it in deep sleep. 

Bearing in mind, according to the contents of the last 
chapter, that the faculty of knowing, like every other organ, 
has only arisen for the purpose of self-preservation, and 
that it therefore stands in a precise relation, admitting 
of countless gradations, to the requirements of each 
animal species; we shall understand that plants, having 
so very much fewer requirements than animals, no 
longer need any knowledge at all. On this account pre 
cisely, as I have often said, knowledge is the true charac 
teristic which denotes the limits of animality, because of the 
movement induced by motives which it conditions. Where 
animal life ceases, there knowledge proper, with whose 
essence our own experience has made us familiar, disap 
pears ; and henceforth analogy is our only way of making 
that which mediates between the influence of the outer world 
and the movements of beings intelligible to us. The will, 
on the other hand, which we have recognised as being the 
basis and kernel of every existing thing, remains one and 
the same at all times and in all places. Now, in the lower 
degree occupied by plant-life and by the vegetative life of 
animal organisms, it is the stimulus which takes the place 


of knowledge as a means of determining the individual 
manifestations of this omnipresent will and as a mediator 
between the outer world and the changes of such a being ; 
finally, in inorganic Nature, it is physical agency in general ; 
and when, as here, observation takes place from a higher 
to a lower degree, both stimulus and physical agency 
present themselves as substitutes for knowledge, therefore 
as mere analogues to it. Plants cannot properly be said 
to perceive light and the sun ; yet we see them sensitive 
in various ways to the presence or absence of both. We 
see them incline and turn towards the light ; and though 
this movement no doubt generally coincides with their 
growth, just as the moon s rotation on its axis coincides 
with its movement round the earth, it nevertheless exists, 
as well as that of the moon, and the direction of that 
growth is determined and systematically modified by 
light, just as an action is determined by a motive, and 
as the direction of the growth of creeping and clinging 
plants is determined by the shape and position of the sup 
ports they may chance to find. Thus because plants on 
the whole, still have wants, though not such wants as 
demand the luxury of a sensorium and an intellect, some 
thing analogous has to take the place of these, in order to 
enable the will to lay hold of, if not to seek out, the satis 
factions which offer themselves to it. Now, this analogous 
substitute is susceptibility for stimuli, and I would express 
the difference between knowledge and this susceptibility 
as follows : in knowledge, the motive which presents itself 
as representation and the act of volition which follows from 
it, remain distinctly separate one from the other, this separa 
tion moreover being the more distinct, the greater the per 
fection of the intellect ; whereas, in mere susceptibility 
for stimuli, the feeling of the stimulus can no longer be 
distinguished from the volition it occasions, and they 
coalesce. In inorganic nature finally, even susceptibility 


for stimuli, the analogy of which to knowledge is unmis 
takable, ceases, but the diversity of reaction of each body 
upon divers kinds of action remains ; now, when the matter 
is considered, as we are doing, in the descending scale, 
this reaction still presents itself, even here, as a substitute 
for knowledge. If a body reacts differently, it must have 
been acted upon differently and that action must have 
roused a different sensation in it, which with all its dull 
ness has nevertheless a distant analogy to knowledge. 
Thus when water that is shut up finds an outlet of which 
it eagerly avails itself, rushing vehemently in that direction, 
it certainly does not recognise that outlet any more than the 
acid perceives the alkali approaching it which will induce 
it to abandon its combination with a metal, or than the 
strip of paper perceives the amber which attracts it after 
being rubbed ; yet we cannot help admitting that what 
brings about such sudden changes in all these bodies, bears 
a certain resemblance to that which takes place within us, 
when an unexpected motive presents itself. In former 
times I have availed myself of such considerations as these 
in order to point out the will in all things ; I now em 
ploy them to indicate the sphere to which knowledge 
presents itself as belonging, when considered, not as is 
usual from the inside, but realistically, from a standpoint 
outside itself, as if it were something foreign : that is, when 
we gain the objective point of view for it, which is so 
extremely important in order to complete the subjective 
one. 1 We find that knowledge then presents itself as the 
mediator of motives, i.e. of the action of causality upon beings 
endowed with intellect in other words, as that which 
receives the changes from outside upon which those in the 
inside must follow, as that which acts as mediator between 
both. Now upon this narrow line hovers the world as 

1 Compare " Die Welt. a. W. u. Y." vol. ii. chap. 22 : " Objective 
View of the Intellect." 


representation that is to say, the whole corporeal world, 
stretched out in Space and Time, which as such can 
never exist anywhere but in the brain any more than 
dreams, which, as long as they last, exist in the same way. 
What the intellect does for animals and for man, as the 
mediator of motives, susceptibility for stimuli does for 
plants, and susceptibility for every sort of cause for in 
organic bodies : and strictly speaking, all this differs merely 
in degree. For, exclusively as a consequence of this suscep 
tibility to outward impressions having enhanced itself in 
animals proportionately to their requirements till it has 
reached the point where a nervous system and a brain be 
come necessary, does consciousness arise as a function of that 
brain, and in it the objective world, whose forms (Time, 
Space, Causality) are the way in which that function is per 
formed. Therefore we find the intellect originally laid out 
entirely with a view to subjectivity, destined merely to serve 
the purposes of the will, consequently as something quite 
secondary and subordinate ; nay, in a sense, as something 
which appears only per accidens ; as a condition of the action 
of mere motives, instead of stimuli, which has become neces 
sary in the higher degree of animal existence. The image 
of the world in Space and Time, which thus arises, is only 
the map 1 on which the motives present themselves as 
ends. It also conditions the spacial and causal connection 
in which the objects perceived stand to one another ; never 
theless it is only the mediating link between the motive 
and the act of volition. Now, to take such an image as 
this of the world, arising in this manner, accidentally, in 
the intellect, i.e. in the cerebral function of animal beings, 
through the means to their ends being represented and the 
path of these ephemera on their planet being thus illumined 
to take this image, we say, this mere cerebral phenome 
non, for the true, ultimate essence of things (thing in itself), 
1 Plan. 


to take the concatenation of its parts for the absolute order 
of the Universe (relations between things in themselves), 
and to assume all this to exist even independently of the 
brain, would indeed be a leap ! Here in fact, an assumption 
such as this must appear to us as the height of rashness 
and presumption ; yet it is the foundation upon which all the 
systems of pre -Kantian dogmatism have been built up ; for 
it is tacitly pre- supposed in all their Ontology, Cosmology 
and Theology, as well as in the ceternce veritates to which 
they appeal. But that leap had always been made tacitly 
and unconsciously, and it is precisely Kant s immortal 
achievement, to have brought it to our consciousness. 

By our present realistic way of considering the matter 
therefore, we unexpectedly gain the objective stand-point for 
Kant s great discoveries; and, by the road of empirico-physio- 
logical contemplation, we arrive at the point whence his trans 
cendental-critical view starts. For Kant s view takes the 
subjective for its standpoint and considers consciousness as 
given. But from consciousness itself and its law and 
order, given a priori, that view arrives at the conclusion, 
that all which appears in that consciousness can be nothing 
more than mere phenomenon. From our realistic, exterior 
standpoint, on the contrary, which assumes the objective 
all that exists in Nature to be absolutely given, we see 
what the intellect is, as to its aim and origin, and to 
which class of phenomena it belongs, and we recognise (so 
far a priori) that it must be limited to mere phenomena. 
We see too, that what presents itself in the intellect can at 
all times only be conditioned chiefly subjectively that 
is, can, together with the order of the nexus of its parts, 
only be a mundus phenomenon, which is likewise subjectively 
conditioned ; but that it can never be a knowledge of things 
as they may be in themselves, or as they may be connected 
in themselves. For, in the nexus of Nature, we have 
found the faculty of knowing as a conditioned faculty, 


whose assertions, precisely on that account, cannot claim 
unconditioned validity. To anyone who has studied and 
understood the Critique of Pure Reason to which our 
standpoint is essentially foreign it must nevertheless still 
appear as if Nature had intended the intellect for a puzzle- 
glass to mislead us and were playing at hide-and-seek with 
us. But by our realistic objective road, i.e. by starting 
from the objective world as given, we have now come to 
the very same result at which Kant had arrived by the 
idealistic, subjective road, i.e. by examining the intellect 
itself and the way in which it constitutes consciousness. 
We now see that the world as representation hovers on the 
narrow line between the external cause (motive) and the 
effect evoked (act of the will), in beings having knowledge 
(animals), in which beings for the first time there occurs a 
distinct separation between motive and voluntary act. 
Ita res accendent lumina rebus. It is only when it is 
reached by two quite opposite roads, that the great result 
attained by Kant is distinctly seen ; and when light is thus 
thrown upon it from both sides, his whole meaning be 
comes clear. Our objective standpoint is realistic and 
therefore conditioned, so far as, in taking for granted the 
existence of beings in Nature, it abstracts from the fact 
that their objective existence postulates an intellect, which 
contains them as its representation ; but Kant s subjective 
and idealistic standpoint is likewise conditioned, inasmuch 
as he starts from the intelligence, which itself, however, 
presupposes Nature, in consequence of whose development 
as far as animal life that intelligence is for the first time 
enabled to make its appearance. Keeping steadily to this 
realistic, objective standpoint of ours, we may also define 
Kant s theory as follows : After Locke, in order to know 
things in themselves, had abstracted the share of sen 
suous functions called by him secondary qualities from 
things as they appear, Kant with infinitely greater depth 


deducted from them tlie incomparably larger share of the 
cerebral function, which includes precisely what Locke 
calls primary qualities. But all I have done here has 
been to show why all this must necessarily be as it is, 
by indicating the place occupied by the intellect in the 
nexus of Nature, when we start realistically from the 
objective as given, but, in doing so, take the only thing of 
which we are quite directly conscious, the will that true 
TTOV arS) of Metaphysics for our support, as being what 
is primarily real, everything else being merely its phe 
nomenon. What now follows serves to complete this. 

I have mentioned already, that where knowledge takes 
place, the motive which appears as representation and the 
act of volition resulting from it, remain the more clearly 
separated one from the other, the more perfect the intellect ; 
that is, the higher we ascend in the scale of beings. This 
calls for fuller explanation. As long as the will s activity 
is roused by stimuli alone, and no representation as yet 
takes place that is, in plants there is no separation at 
all between the receiving of impressions and the being 
determined by them. In the lowest order of animal in 
telligence, such as we find it in radiaria, acalepha, 
acephala, &c., the difference is still small ; a feeling of 
hunger, a watchfulness roused by this, an apprehending 
and snapping at their prey, still constitute the whole con 
tent of their consciousness; nevertheless this is the first 
twilight of the dawning world as representation, the back 
ground of which that is to say, everything excepting the 
motive which acts each time still remains shrouded in 
impenetrable darkness. Here moreover the organs of the 
senses are correspondingly imperfect and incomplete, having 
exceedingly few data for perception to bring to an under 
standing yet in embryo. Nevertheless wherever there is 
sensibility, it is always accompanied by understanding, 
i.e. with the faculty for referring effects experienced to 


external causes ; without this, sensibility would be super 
fluous and a mere source of aimless suffering. The higher 
we ascend in the scale of animals, the greater number and 
perfection of the senses we find, till at last we have all 
five ; these are found in a small number of invertebrate 
animals, but they only become universal in the vertebrata. 
The brain and its function, the understanding, develop pro 
portionately, and the object now gradually presents itself 
more and more distinctly and completely and even already 
in connection with other objects; because the service of 
the will requires apprehension of the mutual relations of 
objects. By this the world of representation acquires 
some extent and background. Still that apprehension 
never goes beyond what is required for the will s service: 
the apprehending and the being roused to reaction by 
what is apprehended, are not clearly held asunder: the 
object is only perceived in as much as it is a motive. 
Even the more sagacious animals only see in objects what 
concerns themselves, what has reference to their will or, at 
the utmost, what may have reference to it in future : of 
this last we have an instance in cats, who take pains to 
acquire an accurate knowledge of localities, and in foxes, 
who endeavour to find hiding-places for their future prey. 
But they are insensible towards everything else ; no 
animal has perhaps ever yet seen the starry sky : my dog 
started in terror when for the first time he accidentally 
caught sight of the sun. A first faint sign of a disin 
terested perception of their surroundings may at times be 
observed in the most intelligent animals, especially when 
they have been trained by taming. Dogs go so far as to 
stare at things ; we may often see them sit down at the 
window and attentively watch all that passes. Monkeys 
look about them at times, as if trying to make up their 
mind about their surroundings. It is in Man that the 
separation between motive and action, between representa- 


tion and will, first becomes quite distinct. But this does 
not immediately put an end to the subservience of the 
intellect to the will. Ordinary human beings after all only 
comprehend quite clearly that which, in some way or 
other, refers directly or indirectly to their own selves (has 
an interest for them) ; with respect to everything else, 
their understanding continues to be unconquerably inert ; 
the rest therefore remains in the back-ground and does 
not come into consciousness under the radiant light of 
complete distinctnees. Philosophical astonishment and 
artistic emotion occasioned by the contemplation of 
phenomena, remain eternally foreign to them, whatever 
they may do ; for at the bottom, everything appears to 
them to be a matter of course. Complete liberation and 
separation of the intellect from the will and its bondage is 
the prerogative of genius, as I have fully shown in the 
aesthetic part of my chief work. G-enius is objectivity. The 
pure objectivity and distinctness with which things present 
themselves in [intuitive] perception that fundamental and 
most substantial source of knowledge actually stands 
every moment in inverse proportion to the interest which 
the will has in those things ; and knowing without willing 
is the condition, not to say the essence, of all gifts of 
aesthetic intelligence. Why does an ordinary artist produce 
so bad a painting of yonder landscape, notwithstanding all 
the pains he has taken ? Because he sees it so. And why 
does he see so little beauty in it ? Because his intellect has 
not freed itself sufficiently from his will. The degrees of 
this separation give rise to great intellectual distinctions 
between men; for the more knowledge has freed itself 
from the will, the purer, consequently the more objective 
and correct, it is ; just as that fruit is best, which has no 
after-taste of the soil on which it has grown. 

This relation, as important as it is interesting, deserves 
surely to be made still clearer by a retrospective view of the 


whole scale of beings, and by recalling the gradual transition 
from absolute subjectivity to the highest degrees of objec 
tivity in the intellect. Inorganic Nature namely, is abso 
lutely subjective, no trace whatever of consciousness of an 
outer world being found in it. Stones, boulders, ice-blocks, 
even when they fall upon one another, or knock or rub 
against one another, have no consciousness of each other 
and of an outer world. Still even these are susceptible to 
external influence, which causes their position and move 
ment to change and may therefore be considered as a first 
step towards consciousness. Now, although plants also 
have no consciousness of the outer world, and although the 
mere analogue of a consciousness which exists in them 
must, on the contrary, be conceived as a dull self -enjoyment ; 
yet we see that they all seek light, and that many of them 
turn their flowers or leaves daily towards the sun, while 
creepers find their way to supports with which they are 
not in contact; and finally we see individual kinds of 
plants show even a sort of irritability. Unquestionably 
therefore, there is a connection and relation between their 
movements and surroundings, even those with which they 
are not in immediate contact ; and this connection we must 
accordingly recognise as a faint analogue to perception. 
With animal life first appears decided perception that 
is, consciousness of other things, as opposed to that clear 
consciousness of ourselves to which that consciousness of 
other things first gives rise. This constitutes precisely 
the true character of animal-nature, as opposed to plant- 
nature. In the lowest animals, consciousness of the outer 
world is very limited and dim : each increasing degree of 
understanding extends it and makes it clearer, and this 
gradual increase of the understanding again adapts itself 
to the gradually increasing requirements of the animal, and 
thus the process continues through the whole long ascend 
ing scale of the animal series up to Man, in whom conscious- 


ness of the outer world reaches its acme, and in whom the 
world accordingly presents itself more distinctly and com 
pletely than in any other being. Still, even here, there are 
innummerable degrees in the clearness of consciousness, 
from the dullest blockhead to genius. Even in normal 
heads there still remains a considerable tinge of subjec 
tivity in their objective perception of external objects, 
knowledge still bearing throughout the character of existing 
merely for the ends of the will. The more eminent the 
head, the less prominent is this character, and the more 
purely objective does the representation of the outer world 
become; till in genius finally it attains completely objec 
tivity, by which the Platonic ideas detach themselves from 
the individual things, because the mind which comprehends 
them enhances itself to the pure subject of knowledge. 
Now, as perception is the basis of all knowledge, all think 
ing and all insight must be influenced by this fundamental 
difference in the quality of it, from which arises that com 
plete difference between the ordinary and the superior 
inind in their whole way of viewing things, which may 
be noticed on all occasions. From this also proceeds the 
dull gravity, nearly resembling that of animals, which 
characterizes common-place heads whose knowledge is 
acquired solely for the benefit of the will, as opposed to 
the constant play of exuberant intellect which brightens 
the consciousness of the superior mind. The consideration 
of the two extremes in the great scale which we have here 
exhibited, seems to have given rise to the German hyper 
bolical expression " Slock " (Klotz), as applied to human 
beings, and to the English " blockhead." 

But another different consequence of the clear separa 
tion of the will from the intellect therefore of the mo 
tive from the action, which first appears in the human 
race, is the deceptive illusion of freedom in our individual 
actions. Where, as in inorganic nature, causes, or, as in 


the vegetable kingdom, stimuli, call forth, the effect, the 
causal connection is so simple, that there is not even the 
slightest semblance of freedom. But already in animal 
life, where that which till then had manifested itself as 
cause or as stimulus, now appears as a motive and a new 
world, that of representation, consequently presents itself, 
and cause and effect lie in different spheres the causal 
connection between both, and with it the necessity, are less 
evident than they were in plants and in inorganic Nature. 
Nevertheless they are still unmistakable in animals, whose 
merely intuitive representation stands midway between 
organic functions induced by stimuli and the deliberate acts 
of Man. The animal s actions infallibly follow as soon 
as the perceptible motive is present, unless counter 
acted by some equally perceptible counter-motive or by 
training; yet here representation is already distinct from 
the act of volition and comes separately into consciousness. 
But in Man whose representation has enhanced itself even 
to abstract conception and who now derives motives and 
counter-motives for his actions from a whole invisible 
thought-world which he carries about with him in his 
brain and which makes him independent of presence and of 
perceptible surroundings this connection no longer exists 
at all for observation from outside, and even for inward 
observation it is only knowable through abstract and 
mature reflection. For these abstract motives, when ob 
served from outside, give an impress of deliberation to all 
his movements, by which they acquire a semblance of inde 
pendence that manifestly distinguishes them from those of 
animals, yet which after all only bears evidence to the fact, 
that Man is actuated by a class of representations in which 
animals do not share. Then again, in self-consciousness, 
the act of volition is known to us in the most immediate 
way, but the motive in most cases very indirectly, being 
often even intentionally veiled, out of consideration for 


our self-knowledge. This process therefore, in coincidence 
with the consciousness of that true freedom which belongs 
to the will, as thing in itself outside phenomenon, produces 
the deceptive illusion that even the single act of volition 
is unconditioned and free : that is, without a reason ; 
whereas, when the character is given and the motive recog 
nised, every act of volition really follows with the same 
strict necessity as the changes of which mechanics teach us 
the laws, and, to use Kant s words, were character and 
motive exactly known, might be calculated with precisely 
the same certainty as an eclipse of the moon ; or again, to 
place a very heterogeneous authority by the side of Kant, 
as Dante says, who is older than Buridan : 

" Intra duo cibi distant! e moventi 
D un modo, prima si morria di fame 
Che liber uomo 1 un recasse a denti." 

Paradiso, iv. I. 1 

1 Between two kinds of food, both equally 
Remote and tempting, first a man might die 
Of hunger, ere he one could freely chuse. (Gary s TV.) 


NO part of my doctrine could I have less hoped to see 
corroborated by empirical science than that, in which 
the fundamental truth, that Kant s thing in itself (Ding an 
sich) is the Will, is applied by me even to inorganic Nature, 
and in which I show the active principle in all fundamental 
forces of Nature to be absolutely identical with what is 
known to us within ourselves as the Will. It has therefore 
been particularly gratifying to me to have found that an 
eminent empiricist, yielding to the force of truth, had 
gone so far as to express this paradox in the exposition of 
his scientific doctrine. I allude to Sir John Herschel and 
to his " Treatise on Astronomy," the first edition of which 
appeared in 1833, and a second enlarged one in 1849, 
under the title " Outlines of Astronomy." Herschel, who, 
as an astronomer, was acquainted with gravity, not only in 
the one-sided and really coarse part which it acts on earth, 
but also in the nobler one performed by it in universal 
Space, where the celestial bodies play with each other, 
betray mutual inclination, exchange as it were amorous 
glances, yet never allow themselves to come into rude con 
tact, and thus continue dancing their dignified minuet to 
the music of the spheres, while they keep at a respectful 
distance from one another when he comes to the state 
ment of the law of gravitation in the seventh chapter, 1 
I expresses himself as follows : 

1 Herschel, " Treatise on Astronomy," chap. 7, 371 of the 1st edition, 



" All bodies with which we are acquainted, when raised 
into the air and quietly abandoned, descend to the earth s 
surface in lines perpendicular to it. They are therefore 
urged thereto by a force or effort, the direct or indirect 
result of a consciousness and a will existing somewhere, 
though beyond our power to trace, which force we term 
gravity" l 

The writer who reviewed Herschel s book in the October 
number of the " Edinburgh Review " of 1833, anxious, as a 
true Englishman, before all things to prevent the Mosaic 
record 2 from being imperilled, takes great umbrage at this 
passage, rightly observing that it cannot refer to the will 
of God Almighty, who has called Matter and all its proper 
ties into being; he utterly refuses to recognise the validity of 
the proposition itself, and denies that it follows consistently 
from the preceding upon which Herschel wishes to found 
it. My opinion is, that it undoubtedly would logically 
follow from that (because the contents of a conception 
are determined by its origin), but that the antecedent 
itself is false. It asserts namely, that the origin of the 
conception of causality is experience, more especially such 
experience as we ourselves make in acting by means of our 

1 Even Copernicus had said the same thing long before : " Equifom 
existimo Gravitatem non aliud esse quam appetentiam quandam natu- 
ralem, partibus inditam a divina providentia opificis universorum, ut in 
unitatem integritatemgue steam, se confer ant, in for mam Globi coeuntes. 
Quam affectionem credibile est etiam Soli, L/unae caeterisque errantiwn 

fulgoribus, inesse, ut eyus efficacia, in ea qua se repraesentant rotunditate 
permaneant; quae nihilominus multis modis suos efficiimt circuittis" 
("Nicol. Copernici revol." Lib. I, Cap. IX. Compare "Exposition des 
Decouvertes de M. le Chevalier Newton par M. Maclaurin ; traduit de 
1 Anglois par M. Lavirotte," Paris, 1749, p. 45). Kerschel evidently saw, 
that if we hesitate to explain gravity, as Descartes did, by an impulse 
from outside, we are absolutely driven to admit a will inherent in bodies.. 
Non datur tertium. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 Which he has more at heart than all the wisdom and truth in the 
world. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


own efforts upon bodies belonging to the outer world. It 
is only in countries like England, where the light of 
Kantian philosophy has not yet begun to dawn, that the 
Conception of causality can be thought of as originating in 
experience (professors of philosophy who pooh-pooh Kant s 
doctrines and think me beneath their notice being left out 
of the question) ; least of all can it be thought of by those 
who are acquainted with my proof of the a priority of that 
conception, which differs completely from Kant s proof 
and rests upon the fact, that knowledge of causality must 
necessarily precede all perception of the outer world it 
self as its condition ; since perception is only brought about 
through the transition effected by the understanding 
from the sensation in the organ of sense to its cause, which 
cause now presents itself as an object in Space, itself like 
wise an a priori intuition. Now, as the perception of objects 
mast be anterior to our conscious action upon them, the ex 
perience of that conscious action cannot be the origin of the 
conception of causality; for, before I can act upon things, 
they must first have acted upon me as motives. I have 
entered fully into all that has to do with this in my chief 
work, 1 and in the second edition of my treatise on the 
Principle of Sufficient Season, 21, 2 where the assumption 
adopted by Herschel finds special refutation ; it is therefore 
useless to enter into it once more here. But it would be 
even quite possible to refute this assumption empirically, 
fcince it would necessarily follow from it, that a man who 
came into the world without arms or legs, could never 
attain any knowledge of causality or perception of the 
outer world. Now Nature has effectually disproved this 
by a case, of which I have reproduced the account from its 
original source in the above-mentioned chapter of my chief 

1 See " Die Welt a. W. u. V." vol. ii. ch. 4, pp. 38-42 (3rd edition, 
pp. 41-46). 

9 P. 74 (3rd edition, p. /9), p. 92 of the translation in the present, volume 


work, p. 40. 1 In tliis assertion of Herschel s therefore, we 
have another instance of a right conclusion drawn from 
wrong premisses. Now this always happens when we 
have obtained immediate insight into a truth by a right 
aperqu, but are at a loss to find out and clearly define our 
reasons for knowing it, owing to our inability to bring 
them to clear consciousness. For, in all original insight, 
conviction exists before proof : the proof being invariably 
excogitated afterwards. 

The immediate manifestation of gravity is more evident 
in each part of liquid, than of solid, matter, owing to the 
perfect freedom of motion of the parts among each other. 
In order therefore to penetrate into this aper^u, which is 
the true source of Herschel s assertion, let us look atten 
tively at a torrent dashing headlong over rocks and ask 
ourselves whether so determined an impetus, so boisterous 
a vehemence, can arise without an exertion of strength, and 
whether an exertion of strength is conceivable without 
will. And so it is precisely in every case in which we 
become aware of anything moving spontaneously, of any 
primary, uncommunicated force : we are constrained to 
think its innermost essence as will. This much at any 
rate is certain, that Herschel, like all the empiricists in so 
many different branches of science whose evidence I have 
quoted above, had arrived here at the limit where nothing 
more is left behind the Physical but the Metaphysical ; 
that this had brought him to a standstill, and that he, as 
well as the rest of them, was unable to find anything 
beyond that limit, but the will. 

Herschel moreover, like most of these empiricists, is 
here still hampered by the opinion that will is inseparable 
from conciousness. As I have expatiated enough above 
upon this fallacy, and its correction through my doctrine, 
it is needless for me to enter into it here again. 
1 3rd edition, p. 44, 


The attempt lias repeatedly been made, since the beginning 
of this century, to ascribe vitality to the inorganic world. 
Quite wrongly: for living and inorganic are convertible 
conceptions, and with death the organic ceases to be 
organic. But no limit in the whole of Nature is so sharply 
drawn as the line which separates the organic from the in 
organic : that is to say, the line between the region in which 
Form is the essential and permanent, Matter the accidental 
and changing, and the region in which this relation is 
entirely reversed. This is no vacillating boundary like 
that perhaps between animals and plants, between solid 
and liquid, between gas and steam : to endeavour to 
destroy it therefore, is intentionally to bring confusion into 
our ideas. On the other hand, I am the first who has 
asserted that a will must be attributed to all that is lifeless 
and inorganic. For, with me, the will is not, as has 
hitherto been assumed, an accident of cognition and there 
fore of life ; but life itself is manifestation of will. 
Knowledge, on the contrary, is really an accident of life, 
and life of Matter. But Matter itself is only the percepti 
bility of the phenomena of the will. Therefore we are 
compelled to recognise volition in every effort or tendency 
which proceeds from the nature of a material body, and 
properly speaking constitutes that nature, or manifests 
itself as phenomenon by means of that nature ; and there 
can consequently be no Matter without manifestation of 
will. The lowest and on that account most universal 
manifestation of will is gravity, wherefore it has been 
called a primary and essential property of Matter. 

The usual view of Nature assumes two fundamentally 
different principles of motion, therefore it supposes that 
the movement of a body may have two different origins : 
i.e., that it proceeds either from the inside, in which 
case it is attributed to the will; or from the outside, 
and then it is occasioned by causes. This principle is gene- 


rally taken for granted as a matter of course and only 
occasionally brought explicitly into prominence ; never 
theless, in order to make the case quite certain, I will point 
out a few passages from the earliest to the latest authors 
in which it is specially stated. In Phaedrus, 1 Plato makes 
the distinction between that which moves spontaneously 
from inside (soul) and that which receives movement only 
from outside (body) TO v<f> iavrov Kivov/uevov KO.I TO, < 
efoOw TU KivtlffOai. 2 Aristotle establishes the principle 
in precisely the same way : airav TO Qepopevov >/ v^ eavrov 
KtvEirai, fj i>V d\\ov (quidquid fertur a se movetur, aut 
db alio~). 3 He returns to the subject in the next Book, 
chap. 4 and 5, and connects it with some explanatory de 
tails which lead him into considerable perplexity, on ac 
count precisely of the fallacy of the antithesis. 4 In more 
recent times again J. J. Eousseau brings forward the same 
antithesis with great naivete and candour in his famous 
"Profession de foi du vicaire Savoyard:" 5 "Fa/p&rfois 
dans les corps deux sortes de mouvement, savoir : mouvement 
communique et mouvement spontane ou volontaire : dans le 
premier la cause motrice est etrangere au corps mu ; et dans 
le second elle est en lui-meme" But even in our time and 
in the stilted, puffed-up style which is peculiar to it, Bur- 
dach holds forth as follows : 6 " The cause that determines 
a movement lies either inside or outside of that which 

1 Plato, Phfed." p. 319 Bip. 

2 " That which is moved by itself and that which is moved from out 
side." [Tr.] And we find the same distinction again in the 10th Book " De 
Legibus," p. 85. [After him Cicero repeats it in the two last chapters 
of his " Somnium Scipionis." Add. to 3rd ed.] 

3 " All that is moved, is moved either by itself or by something else." 
[Tr.] Aristotle, "Phys." vii. 2. 

4 Maclaurin, too, in his account of Newton s discoveries, p. 102, lavs 
down this principle as his starting-point. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

6 Kmile, iv. p. 27. Bip. 

Burdach, " Physiologic," vol. iv. p. 323. 


moves. Matter is external existence; it has powers of 
motion, but it only brings them into play under certain 
spacial conditions and external oppositions : the soul alone 
is an ever active and internal thing, and only those bodies 
which have souls find within themselves inducement to 
move, and move of their own free will, independently of 
outer mechanical circumstances." 

Now here however I must say, as Abelard once did : si 
omnespatres sic, at egonon sic : for, in opposition to this prin 
ciple, however great may be its antiquity and universality, 
my doctrine maintains, that there are not two origins of 
movement differing fundamentally from one another ; that 
movement does not proceed either from inside, when it is 
ascribed to the will, or from outside, when it is brought 
about by causes ; but that both things are inseparable and 
take place simultaneously with every movement made by 
a body. For movement which is admitted to arise from 
the will, always presupposes a cause also: this cause, in 
beings that have knowledge, is a motive ; but without it, 
even in these beings, movement is impossible. On the 
other hand, the movement of a body which is admitted to 
have been brought about by an outward cause, is never 
theless in itself a manifestation of the will of that body 
which has only been evoked by that cause. Accordingly 
there is only one, uniform, universal and exceptionless 
principle of all movement, whose inner condition is will 
and whose outer occasion is cause, which latter may also 
take the form of a stimulus or of a motive, according to 
the nature of the thing moved. 

All that is known to us of things in a merely empi 
rical or a posteriori way, is in itself will ; whereas, so far 
as they can be determined a priori, things belong ex 
clusively to representation, to mere phenomenon. Natural 
phenomena therefore become proportionately less easy to 
comprehend, the more distinctly the will manifests itself 


in them, i.e. the higher they stand on the scale of beings ; 
whereas, they become more and more comprehensible 
the smaller the amount of their empirical content, be 
cause they remain more and more within the sphere of 
mere representation, the forms of which, known to us a. 
priori, are the principle of comprehensibility. Accordingly, 
it is only so long as we limit ourselves to this sphere 
that is to say, only when we have before us mere repre 
sentation, mere form without empirical content that our 
comprehension is complete and thorough : that is, in the 
a priori sciences, Arithmetic, Geometry, Phoronorny and 
Logic. Here everything is in the highest degree compre 
hensible; our insight is quite clear and satisfactory: it 
leaves nothing to be desired, since we are even unable to 
conceive that anything could be otherwise than it is. This 
comes from our having here exclusively to do with the 
forms of our own intellect. Thus the more we are able to 
comprehend in a relation, the more it consists of mere 
phenomenon and the less it has to do with the thing in 
itself. Applied Mathematics, Mechanics, Hydraulics, &c. 
&c., deal with the lowest degrees of objectification of the 
will, in which the largest part still remains within the 
sphere of mere representation ; nevertheless even here there 
is already an empirical element which stands in the way of 
entire comprehension, which makes the transparency less 
complete, and in which the inexplicable shows itself. For 
the same reason, only few departments of Physics and of 
Chemistry continue to admit of a mathematical treat 
ment ; whereas higher up in the scale of beings this has to 
be entirely done away with, precisely because of the pre 
ponderance of content over form in these phenomena. This 
content is will, the a posteriori, the thing in itself, the free, 
the causeless. Under the heading " Physiology of Plants," I 
have shown how in beings that live and have knowledge 
motive and act of will, representation and volition, separate 


and detach themselves more and more distinctly one from 
the other, the higher we ascend in the scale of beings. 
Now, in inorganic Nature also, the cause separates itself 
from the effect in just the same proportion, and the 
purely empirical which is precisely phenomenon of the 
will detaches itself more and more prominently ; but, just 
with this, comprehensibility diminishes. This point merits 
fuller investigation, and I request my readers to give their 
whole and undivided attention to what I am about to say, 
as it is calculated to place the leading thought of my 
doctrine in the strongest possible light, both as to compre 
hensibility and cogency. But this is all I can do ; for 
it is beyond my power to induce my contemporaries to 
prefer thoughts to verbiage ; I can only console myself for 
not being the man of the age. 

On the lowest step of the scale of Nature, cause and 
effect are quite homogeneous and quite equivalent. Here 
therefore we have perfect comprehension of the causal con 
nection : for instance, the cause of the movement of one 
ball propelled by impact, is the movement of another, 
which loses just as much movement as the first one 
receives. Here causality is in the highest degree intelli 
gible. What notwithstanding still remains mysterious, is 
restricted to the possibility of the passage of movement 
of a thing incorporeal from one body to another. 
The receptivity of bodies in this mode is so slight, that the 
effect to be produced has to pass over completely from its 
cause. The same holds good of all purely mechanical 
influences ; and if they are not all just as instantaneously 
understood, it is either because they are hidden from us by 
accessory circumstances, or because we are confused by the 
complicated connection of many causes and effects. In 
itself, mechanical causality is everywhere equally, that is, 
in the highest degree, comprehensible ; because cause and 
effect do not differ here as to quality, and because where 


they differ as to quantity, as in the lever, mere Space ancl 
Time relations suffice to make the thing clear. But as 
soon as weights come also into play, a second mysterious 
element supervenes, gravity : and, where elastic bodies are 
concerned, elasticity also. Things change as soon as we 
begin to ascend in the scale of phenomena. Heat, con 
sidered as cause, and expansion, liquefaction, volatilization 
or crystallization, as effects, are not homogeneous ; there 
fore their causal connection is not intelligible. The com- 
prehensibility of causality has diminished : what a lower 
degree of heat caused to liquefy, a higher degree makes 
evaporate : that which crystallizes with less heat, melts 
when the heat is augmented. Warmth softens wax and 
hardens clay ; light whitens wax and blackens chloride of 
silver. And, to go still further, when two salts are seen to 
decompose each other mutually and to form two new ones, 
elective affinity presents itself to us as an impenetrable 
mystery, and the properties of the two new bodies are not 
a combination of the properties of their separate elements. 
Nevertheless we are still able to follow the process and 
to indicate the elements out of which the new bodies are 
formed ; we can even separate what has been united and 
restore the original quantities. Thus noticeable hetero- 
geneousness and incommensurability between cause and 
effect have here made their appearance: causality has 
become more mysterious. And this becomes still more 
apparent when we compare the effects of electricity or of 
the Voltaic pile with their causes, i.e. with the friction of 
glass, or the piling and oxidation of the plates. Here all 
similarity between cause and effect at once vanishes ; 
causality becomes shrouded in a thick veil, which men like 
Davy, Faraday and Ampere have strenuously endeavoured 
to lift. The only thing now discernible through that veil, 
are the laws ruling its mode of action, which may bo 
brought into a schema such as + E E, communica- 


tion, distribution, shock, ignition, analysis, charging, 
isolation, discharging, electric current, &c. &c., to this 
schema we are able to reduce and even to direct the effect ; 
but of the process itself we know nothing : that remains 
an x. Here therefore cause and effect are completely 
heterogeneous, their connection is unintelligible, and we 
see bodies show great susceptibity to causal influences, the 
nature of which remains a secret for us. Moreover in pro 
portion as we mount higher in the scale, the effect seems 
to contain more, the cause less. When we reach organic 
Nature therefore, in which the phenomenon of life presents 
itself, this is the case in a far higher degree still. If, as is 
done in China, we fill a pit with decaying wood, cover it 
with leaves from the same tree as the wood, and pour a 
solution of sulphur repeatedly over it, an abundant crop of 
edible mushrooms will spring up. A world of rapidly 
moving infiisoria will arise from a little hay well watered. 
"What a difference lies here between effect and cause ! 
How much more does the former seem to contain than the 
latter ! When we compare the seed, sometimes centuries, 
nay even thousands of years old, with the tree, or the soil 
with the specifically and strikingly different juices of in 
numerable plants some healthy, some poisonous, some 
again nutritious which spring from the same earth, upon 
which the same sun shines and the same rain falls, all 
resemblance ceases, and with it all comprehensibility for 
us. For here causality already appears in increased 
potency : that is, as stimulus and as susceptibility for 
stimulus. The schema of cause and effect alone has re 
mained ; we know that this is cause, that effect ; but we 
know nothing whatever of the nature and disposition of 
causality. Between cause and effect there is not only no 
qualitative resemblance, but no quantitative relation : the 
relatively greater importance of the effect as compared with 
its cause increases more and more; the effect of the 


stimulus too does not augment in proportion with the en 
hancement of that stimulus ; in fact just the contrary often 
takes place. Finally, when we come to the sphere of beings 
which have knowledge, there is no longer any sort of re 
semblance or relation between the action performed and 
the object which, as representation, evokes it. Animals, 
however, as they are restricted to perceptible representa 
tions, still need the presence of the object acting as a 
motive, which action is then immediate and infallible (if 
we leave training, i.e. habit enforced by fear, out of the 
question). For animals are unable to carry about with 
them conceptions that might render them independent 
of present impressions, enable them to reflect, and qualify 
them for deliberate action. Man can do this. There 
fore when at last we come to rational beings, the motive is 
even no longer a present, perceptible, actually existing, real 
thing, but a mere conception having its present existence 
only in the brain of the person who acts, but which is 
extracted from many multifarious perceptions, from the 
experience of former years, or has been handed down in 
words. Here the separation between cause and effect is so 
wide, the effect has grown so much stronger as compared 
with the cause, that the vulgar mind no longer perceives 
the existence of a cause at all, and the acts of the will 
appear to it to be unconditioned, causeless : that is to say, 
free. This is just why, when we reflect upon them from 
outside, the movements of our own body present them 
selves as if they took place without cause, or to speak more 
properly, by a miracle. Experience and reflection alone 
teach us that these movements, like all others, are only 
possible as the effects of causes, here called motives, and that, 
on this ascending scale, it is only as to material reality that 
the cause has failed to keep pace with the effect ; whereas it 
has kept pace with it as to dynamical reality, energy. At 
this degree of the scale therefore the highest in Nature 


causality has become less intelligible to us than ever. 
Nothing but the bare schema, taken in a quite general 
sense, now remains, and the ripest reflection is needed to 
recognise its applicability and the necessity that schema 
brings with it everywhere. 

In the Grotto of Pausilippo, darkness continues to aug 
ment as we advance towards the interior ; but when once 
we have passed the middle, day-light again appears at the 
other end and shows us the way ; so also in this case : just 
at the point where the outwardly directed light of the 
understanding with its form of causality, gradually yield 
ing to increasing darkness, had been reduced to a feeble, 
flickering glimmer, behold ! we are met by a totally diffe 
rent light proceeding from quite another quarter, from 
our own inner self, through the chance circumstance, that 
we, the judges, happen here to be the very objects that are 
to be judged. The growing difficulty of the comprehen 
sion of the causal nexus, at first so clear, had now become 
so great for perception and for the understanding the 
agent in it that, in animal actions, the very existence 
of that nexus seemed almost doubtful and those actions 
appeared to be a sort of miracle. But, just at this point, 
the observer receives from his own inner self the direct in 
formation that the agent in them is the will that very 
will, which he knows better and more intimately than any 
thing that external perception can ever supply. This 
knowledge alone must be the philosopher s key to an 
insight into the heart of all those processes in unconscious 
Nature, concerning which causal explanation although, 
here, to be sure, more satisfactory than in the processes 
last considered, and the clearer, the farther those pro 
cesses were removed from these nevertheless had still 
left an unknown x, and could never quite illumine the 
inside of the process, even in a body propelled by impact or 
attracted by gravity. This x had continued expanding till 


finally, on the highest degrees of the scale, it had wholly 
repelled causal explanation. But then, just when the 
power of causal explanation had been reduced to a mini 
mum, that x revealed itself as tine will reminding us of 
Mephistopheles when, yielding to Faust s learned exor 
cisms, he steps forth out of the huge grown poodle whose 
kernel he was. In consequence of the considerations I 
have here set forth at length, we can surely hardly avoid 
recognising the identity of this x, even on the lowest 
degrees of the scale, where it was but faintly perceptible ; 
then higher up, where it extended its obscurity more and 
more ; and finally on the highest degrees, where it cast a 
shadow upon all things till, at the very top, it reveals itself 
to our consciousness in our own phenomenal being, as the 
will. The two primarily different sources of our knowledge, 
that is to say the inward and the outward source, have to 
be connected together at this point by reflection. It ia 
quite exclusively out of this connection that our compre 
hension of Nature, and of our own selves arises ; but then 
the inner side of Nature is disclosed to our intellect, which 
by itself alone can never reach further than to the 
mere outside ; and the mystery which philosophy has so 
long tried to solve, lies open before us. For then indeed 
we clearly see what the Real and the Ideal (the thing in 
itself and the phenomenon) properly are ; and this settles 
the principal question which has engaged the attention 
of philosophers since Descartes: that is to say, the 
question as to the relation between these two, whose com 
plete diversity Kant had shown most thoroughly and with 
unexampled depth, yet whose absolute identity was imme 
diately afterwards proclaimed by humbugs on the credit of 
intellectual intuition. But if we decline to avail ourselves 
of this insight, which is really the one strait gate to truth, 
we can never acquire comprehension of the intrinsic 
essence of Nature, to which absolutely no other road leads ; 


for then indeed we fall into an irremovable error. Then, 
as I have already said, we maintain the view, that motion 
has two radically different primary principles with a solid 
partition-wall between them : i.e. movement by means of 
causes, and movement by means of the will. The first of 
these must then remain for ever incomprehensible as to its 
innermost essence, because, after all its explanations, there 
is still left that unknown x which contains the more, the 
higher the object under consideration stands in the scale of 
beings ; while the second, movement by the will, presents 
itself as entirely disconnected from the principle of 
causality; as without reason; as freedom in individual 
actions : in other words, as completely opposed to Nature 
and utterly unexplainable. On the other hand, if the 
above-mentioned union of our external and internal know 
ledge has once been accomplished at the point where both 
meet, we then recognise two identities in spite of all 
accidental differences. That is to say, we recognise the 
identity of causality with itself on every degree of the 
scale of beings, and the identity of the x, which at 
first was unknown (i.e. of physical forces and vital phe 
nomena), with the will which is within us. We recognise, 
I say, firstly the essential identity of causality under 
the various forms it is forced to assume on the different 
degrees of the scale, as it may manifest itself, now as a 
mechanical, chemical, or physical cause, now as a stimulus, 
and again as a perceptible or an abstract motive : we 
know it to be one and the same, not only when a pro 
pelling body loses as much movement as it imparts by im 
pact, but also when in the combats of thought against 
thought, the victorious one, as the more powerful motive, 
sets Man in motion, a motion which follows with no less 
necessity than that of the ball which is struck. Where we 
ourselves are the things set in motion, where therefore the 
kernel of the process is well and intimately known to us, 


instead of allowing ourselves to "be dazzled and confused by 
this light and thereby losing sight of the causal connection 
as it lies before us everywhere else in the whole of 
Nature; instead of shutting out this insight for ever, we now 
apply the new knowledge we have acquired from within 
as a key to the knowledge of things outside us, and then 
we recognise the second identity, that of our will with the 
hitherto mysterious x that remains over after all causal 
explanation as an insoluble residue. Consequently we 
then say: even in cases in which the effect is brought 
about by the most palpable cause, the mysterious x in the 
process, the real innermost core of it, the true agent, the 
in-itself of all phenomena which, after all, is only given 
us as representation and according to the forms and laws 
of representation is essentially one and the same with 
what is known to us immediately and intimately as the 
will in the actions of our own body, which body is likewise 
given us as intuition and representation. This is (say 
what you will) the basis of true philosophy, and if the 
present age does not see this, many following ages 
will. Tempo e galant uomo ! (se nessun altro). Thus, 
just as, on the one hand, the essence of causality, which 
appears most clearly only on the lowest degree of the 
objectification of the will, is recognised by us again at 
every ascending step, even at the highest ; so also, on 
the other hand, is the essence of the will recognised by us 
at every descending step in that ladder, even at the lowest, 
although this knowledge is only immediately acquired 
at the very highest. The old error asserts, that where 
there is will, there is no causality ; and that where there 
is causality, there is no will. But we say : everywhere 
where there is causality, there is will ; and no will acts 
without causality. The punctum controversice therefore, is, 
whether will and causality can and must subsist together 
in one and the same process at the same time. What 


makes the knowledge, that this is indeed the case, so diffi 
cult, is the circumstance, that we know causality and will 
in two fundamentally different ways : causality entirely 
from outside, quite indirectly, quite through the under 
standing ; will entirely from inside, quite directly ; and that 
accordingly the clearer the knowledge of the one in each 
given instance, the less clear is the knowledge of the other. 
Therefore we recognise the essence of the will least readily, 
where causality is most intelligible ; and, where the will is 
most unmistakably evident, causality becomes so obscured, 
that the vulgar mind could venture to deny its existence 
altogether. Now, as Kant has taught us, causality is 
nothing but the form of the understanding itself, knowable 
a priori : that is, the essence of representation, as such, 
which is one side of the world; the other side is will: 
which is the thing in itself. That relative increase and 
decrease of clearness in inverse proportion of causality and 
of the will, that mutual advancing and receding of both, 
depends consequently upon the fact, that the more a thing 
is given us as mere phenomenon, i.e. as representation, the 
more clearly does the a priori form of representation, i.e. 
causality, manifest itself: this is the case in inanimate 
Nature ; conversely, the more immediate our knowledge of 
the will, the more does the form of representation recede 
into the background: this is the case with ourselves. 
That is : the nearer one side of the world approaches to 
us, the more do we lose sight of the other. 


ALL that I have to record under this head is an obser 
vation of my own, made within the last few years, 
which seems hitherto to have escaped notice. Yet, that it 
is worthy of consideration, is attested by Seneca s utter 
ance : l Hira in quibusdam rebus verborum proprietas est, et 
consuetude sermonis antiqui qucedam efficacissimis not is 
signat. Lichtenberg too says : "If one thinks much one 
self, one finds a good deal of wisdom deposited in lan 
guage. It is hardly likely that we have laid it all there 
ourselves, but rather that a great deal of wisdom really 
lies there." 

In many, perhaps in all, languages, the action even of 
those bodies which are without intellect, nay of inanimate 
bodies, is expressed by the words to will, so that the exis 
tence of a will in these bodies is thus taken for granted ; 
but they are never credited with a faculty for knowing, 
representing, perceiving or thinking : I know of no ex 
pression which conveys this. 

Seneca, when speaking of lightning shot down from 
heaven, says : 2 " In his, ignibus accidit, quod arbor ibus : 
quaruwi cacumina, si tenera sunt, ita deorsum trahi pos- 
sunt t ut etiam terram attingant ; sed quum permiseris, in 
locum suum exsilient. Itaque non est quod eum species 
cujusque rei Jiabitum, qui illi non ex voluntate est. Si 
ignem permittis ire quo velit, c&lum repetet" In a more 

1 Seneca, " Epist." 81. * Ibid. " Quaest. nat." ii. 24. 


general sense Pliny says : nee qucerenda in ulla parte natures 
ratio, sed voluntas. 1 Nor do we find Greek less fertile in 
instances. Aristotle, when explaining gravity, says : /uiKpbv 
pev (j.6piov riJQ y?iic> eav ptrewpiadiv atytOrj, fyeptTcii, Kcti pivtiv 
OVK (parva quo&da/m terras, pars, si elevata dimittitur, 
neque vult manere). 2 And: Ael fie Itaaarov Xeyfti/ TOIOVTOV 
ft vac, o (j>vaet(3ov\rai elrai, KO.I o vVa(0)(ft, a XXa prj o /3/p KCU 
irapa tyvaiv (unumquodque autem tale dicere oportet, quale 
naturd sud esse vult, et quod est ; sed non id quod violentid 
et prceter naturam est). 3 Of great and more than merely 
linguistic importance is what Aristotle says in his " Ethica 
magna," 4 where not only animals, but inanimate beings (fire 
striving upwards and earth downwards) are explicitly in 
question, and he asserts that they may be obliged to do 
something contrary to their nature or their will : irapa 
fyvaiv rt, 17 Trap a /3 ovXovrai TTUIEIV, and therefore rightly 
places Trap a /3ouAovrcu as a paraphrase of irapa. tyvaiv. 
Anacreon, in his 29th Ode, <e Ba 0/XXov, in ordering the 
portrait of his lady-love, says of her hair : "EXt/cac & e\evde- 
povg pot TrXoKra^Ltwv, araicra ffvvdetQ, a^)fe, ug Xwo-i, Kflvdai 
(capillorum cirros incomposite jungens, sine utut volunt 
jacere) . 5 In Grerman, Burger says : " hinab will der Bach, 
niclit hinan" (the brook will go downwards not upwards). 
In daily life we constantly hear : " the water boils, it will 
run over," " the glass will break," " the ladder will not 
stand;" " le feu ne veuipas bruler." " la corde, unefois 
tordue,VQuttoujours se retordre" In Engh sh, the verb to 

1 Plin. Hist, nat." 37, 15. 

2 Aristot. " De Ccelo." ii. c. 13, " If a small particle of earth is lifted 
and let loose, it is carried away and will not rest." [Tr. s add.] 

3 Ibid. c. 14, " But each thing ought to be named as it wills to be and 
really is according to its nature, not as it is by force and contrary to its 
nature." [Tr. s add.] 

4 Arist. " Eth. Mag." i. c. 14. 

5 " Let the freely curling locks fall unarranged as they will [UJce\." 
[Tr. s add] 


will is even the auxiliary of the future of all the other 
verbs, thus expressing the notion, that there lies a will at 
the bottom of every action. In English moreover, the en 
deavours of all inanimate and unconscious things, are ex 
pressly designated by the word want, which denotes every 
sort of human desire or endeavour : " the water wants to 
get out," " the steam wants to find an issue." In Italian 
too we have " vuol piovere ; " " quest 1 orologio non vuol 
andare" The conception of willing is besides so deeply 
rooted in this last language, that it seems to indicate every 
thing that is requisite or necessary: " ci vuol un con- 
trappeso ; " " ci vuol pazienza." 

A very striking instance of this is to be found even in 
Chinese a language which differs fundamentally from all 
those belonging to the Sanskrit family it is in the commen 
tary to the Y-King, 1 accurately rendered by Peter Kegis as 
follows : " Tang, sen materia coelestis, vult rursus ingredi, vel 
(ut verbis doctoris Tsching-tse utar) vult rursus esse in supe- 
riore loco ; scilicet illius naturce ratio ita fert, seu innata lex. 

The following passage from Liebig has decidedly much 
more than a linguistic signification, for it expresses an inti 
mate feeling and comprehension of the way in which a 
chemical process takes place. " Aldehyd arises, which with 
the same avidity as sulphurous acid, combines directly with 
oxygen to form, acetic acid." And again: 3 "Aldehyd, 
which absorbs oxygen from the air with great avidity" 
As Liebig uses this expression twice in speaking of the 
same phenomenon, it can hardly be by chance, but rather 
because it was the only adequate expression for the thing. 4 

1 Y-King," ed. J. Mohl, TO!, i. p. 341. 

2 Liebig, " Die Chemie in ihrer Anwendung auf Agrikultur," p. 394. 

3 Ibid. " Die Chemie in Anwendung auf Physiologie. 

* French chemists likewise say : " II est Evident que Us mtaux ne 
sont pas tous tgalement abides d oxygene" . . . . " La difficult^ de la 
reduction devait correspond ntcessairement a une avidit<S fort grande 


That most immediate stamp of our thoughts, language, 
shows us therefore, that every inward impulse must neces 
sarily be conceived as volition ; but it by no means ascribes 
knowledge to things as well. The agreement on this point 
between all languages, perhaps without a single exception, 
proves that here we have to do with no mere figure of 
speech, but that the verbal expression is determined by a 
deeply-rooted feeling of the inner nature of things. 

du mttal pour Voxygtne" (See Paul de Remusat, " La Chimie a 1 Ex- 
position." " L Aluminium," " Revue des Deux Mondes," 1855, p. 649). 
Vaninus ("De Amirandis Naturae Arcanis," p. 170) had said: 
" Argentum vivum etiam in aqua, conglobatur, quemadmodum et in 
plumbi scobe etiam: at a scobe non refugit (this is directed against an 
opinion expressed by Cardanus) imo ex ea quantum potest colligit : 
quod nequit (scil. colligere), ut censeo, invitum relinquit: natura enim 
et sua appetit, et vorat." This is evidently more than a form of words. 
He here quite decidedly attributes a will to quicksilver. And thus it 
will invariably be found that where, in physical and chemical processes, 
there is a reference to elementary forces of Nature and to the primary 
qualities of bodies which cannot be further deduced, these are always 
expressed by words which belong to the will and its manifestations. 
[Add. to 3rd ed.] 


IN 1818, when my chief work first appeared, Animal 
Magnetism had only begun to struggle into existence. 
But, as to its explanation although, to be sure, some light 
had been thrown upon the passive side of it, that is, upon 
what goes on within the patient, by the contrast between 
the cerebral and the ganglionic systems, to which Eeil had 
drawn attention, having been taken for the principle of 
explanation the active side, the agent proper by means of 
which the magnetiser evokes all these phenomena, was 
still completely shrouded in darkness. People groped 
about among all sorts of material principles of explanation, 
such as Mesmer s all-permeating ether, or the exhalations 
from the magnetiser s skin, assumed by Stieglitz to be 
the cause, &c. &c. At the utmost a nerve- spirit had been 
recognised and, after all, this was but a word for an un 
known thing. The truth had scarcely begun to dawn upon 
a few persons, whom practice had more deeply initiated. 
But I was still far from hoping for any direct corroboration 
of my doctrine from Magnetism. 

Dies diem docet however, and the great teacher, expe 
rience, has since brought to light an important fact con 
cerning this deep-reaching agent which, proceeding from 
the magnetiser, produces effects apparently so contrary to 
the regular course of Nature that the long lasting doubt as 
to their existence, the stiff-necked incredulity, the condemna 
tion of a Committee of which Lavoisier and Franklin were 
members, in short, the whole opposition that Magnetism 
encountered both in its first and second period (with the sola 


exception of the coarse, unintelligent condemnation without 
inquiry, which till very lately, prevailed in England) is quite 
excusable. The fact I allude to is, that this agent is nothing 
but the will of the magnetiser. To-day not a doubt exists 
on this point, I believe, among those who combine practice 
with insight ; therefore I think it superfluous to quote the 
numerous assertions of magnetisers in corroboration of it. 1 
Time has thus not only verified Puysegur s watchword and 
that of the older French magnetisers : " Veuillez et croyez !" 
i.e. " Will with belief ! " but this very watchword has even 
developed into a correct insight of the process itself. 2 
From Kieser s " Tellurismus," still probably the most 
thorough and detailed text book of Animal Magnetism we 
have, it clearly results, that no act of Magnetism can take 
effect without the will ; on the other hand the bare will, with 
out any outward action, is able to produce every magnetic 
effect. Manipulation seems to be only a means of fixing, 
and so to say incorporating, the will and its direction. In 
this sense Kieser says : " Inasmuch as the human hand 
being the organ by which Man s outward activity is most 
visibly expressed is the efficient organ in magnetising, 
manipulation arises." De Lausanne, a French magnetiser, 
pronounces himself with still greater precision on this 
point in the Fourth Book of his " Annales du Magnetisme 
Animal " (1814-1816), where he says : " L action du mag- 
netisme depend de la seule volonte, il est vrai ; mais Vhomme 
ayant une forme exte*rieure et sensible, tout ce qui est a 
son usage, tout ce qui doit agir sur lui, doit necessairement 

1 I only mention one work which has recently appeared, the explicit 
object of which is to show that the magnetiser s will is the real agent : 
" Qu est ce que le Magnetisme ? " par E. Gromier. (Lyon, 1850.) 

2 Puysegur himself says in the year 1784: " Lorsque vous aves 
magn6tis6 le malade, votre but tait de I endormir, et vous y avez rtussi 
par le seul acte de votre volonU ; c est dc memepar un autre acte de volontt 
que vous le rtveillez." (Puysegur, " Magnet. Anim." 2me edit. 1820, 
Cate"chisme Magne"tique," p. 150-17L) [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


en avoir une, et pour que la volonte agisse,ilfautqu elle em 
ploye un mode d action." As, according to ray doctrine, the 
organism is but the mere phenomenon, the visibility, the 
objectivity of the will; nay, as it is properly speaking 
only the will itself, viewed as representation in the brain : 
so also does the outward act of manipulation coincide with 
the inward act of the will. But where magnetic effects 
are produced without manipulation, they take place as it 
were artificially, in a roundabout way, the imagination 
taking the place of the outer act and even occasionally that 
of personal presence : wherefore it is much more diffi 
cult and succeeds less frequently. Kieser accordingly 
alleges that the word " Sleep I " or " You must ! " said 
aloud, has a more powerful effect upon a somnabulist than 
the mere inward willing of the maf letiser. On the other 
hand manipulation, and in general outward action, is 
really an infallible means of fixing the magnetiser s will 
and promoting its activity ; precisely because outward acts 
are quite impossible apart from all will, the body and 
its organs being nothing but the visibility of the will 
itself. This explains the fact, that magnetisers at 
times magnetise without any conscious effort of volitio 
and almost without thinking, and yet produce the de 
sired effect. On the whole, it is not the consciousness of 
volition, reflection upon it, that acts magnetically, but pure 
volition itself, as detached as possible from all representa 
tion. In Kieser s directions to magnetisers therefore, 1 we 
find all thinking and reflecting upon their respective doing 
and suffering, all conversation between them, forbidden 
both to physician and patient ; also all outward impres 
sions which arouse representations, the presence of strangers, 
and even daylight. He advises that everything should 
proceed as unconsciously as possible, as is likewise recom 
mended in charm-cures. The true reason of all this is, that 

1 Kieser, " Tellur. ; vol. i. p. 400, 


here the will operates in its primariness, as thing in itself ; 
and this demands the exclusion, as far as possible, of repre 
sentation, as a different sphere, as secondary to the will. 
Facts to prove that the real agent in magnetising is the 
will and each outward act only its vehicle, may be found 
in all the more recent and more trustworthy writings upon 
Magnetism, and it would be needless prolixity to repeat 
them here. Nevertheless I will quote one case, not as 
being especially striking, but as furnished by a remarkable 
person and having a peculiar interest as his testimony. 
Jean Paul says in a letter : x " Twice in a large company I 
have made Frau von K. nearly go to sleep by merely look 
ing at her with a firm will, no one else knowing anything 
about it, and before that, I had brought on palpitation of 
the heart and pallor to such a degree that Dr. S. had to 
be summoned to her assistance." 2 Nowadays too, merely 
laying and keeping hold of the patient s hands while fixing 

1 See " Wahrheit aus Jean Paul s Leben," vol. viii. p. 120. 

2 I had the good fortune in the year 1854 myself to witness soms 
extraordinary feats of this kind, performed here by Signor Regaz- 
zoni from Bergamo, in which the immediate, i.e. magical, power of his 
will over other persons was unmistakeable, and of which no one, 
excepting perhaps those to whom Nature has denied all capacity for appre 
bending pathological conditions, could doubt the genuineness. There 
are nevertheless such persons : they ought to become lawyers, clergymen, 
merchants or soldiers, but in heaven s name not doctors ; for the result 
would be homicidal, diagnosis being the principal thing in medicine. 
Regazzoni was able at will to throw the somnambulist who was under 
his influence into a state of complete catalepsy, nay, he could make her 
fall down backwards, when he stood behind her and she was walking 
before him, by his mere will, without any gestures. He could paralyze 
her, give her tetanos, with the dilated pupils, the complete insensi 
bility, and in short, all the unmistakeable symptoms of complete 
catalepsy. He made one of the lady spectators first play the piano ; then 
standing fifteen paces behind her, he so completely paralyzed her by his 
will and gestures, that she was unable to continue playing. He next 
placed her against a column and charmed her to the spot, so that she 
\vas unable to move in spite of the strongest efforts. According to my 
own observation, nearly all his feats are to be explained by his isolating 


the eye steadily upon him, is frequently substituted with 
complete success for the customary manipulation ; precisely 
because even this outward act is suited to fix the will in a 
determined direction. But this immediate power which 
the will can exercise over other persons, is brought to light 
best of all by the admirable experiments made, even in 
public, by M. Dupotet and his pupils in Paris, in which 
a stranger is guided and determined at pleasure by the 
magnetiser s mere will, aided by a few gestures, and is 
even forced into the most extraordinary contortions. An 
apparently quite honestly written pamphlet, entitled " First 
glance into the wonder- world of Magnetism," by Karl 
Scholl (1853). contains a brief account of this. 

In the " Communications concerning the somnambulist, 
Auguste K. in Dresden" (1843), we find the truth in ques 
tion confirmed in another way by what the somnambulist 
herself says, p. 53 : " I was half asleep and my brother 

the brain from the spinal marrow, either completely, in which case the 
sensible and motor nerves become paralyzed, and total catalepsy ensues ; 
or partially, by the paralysis only affecting the motor nerves while 
sensibility remains in other words, the head keeps its consciousness, 
while the body is apparently lifeless. This is precisely the effect of 
strychnine : it paralyzes the motor nerves only, even to complete tetanos, 
which induces death by asphyxia ; but it leaves the sensible nerves, and 
with them consciousness, intact. Eegazzoni does this same thing by the 
magic influence of his will. The moment at which this isolation takes 
place is distinctly visible in a peculiar trembling of the .patient. I 
recommend a small French publication entitled " Antoine Regazzoni de 
Bergame & Francfort sur Mein," by L. A. V. Dubourg (Frankfurt, 
Nov. 1854, 31 pages in 8vo.) on Regazzoni s feats and the unmistakeably 
genuine character they bear for everyone who is not entirely devoid of 
all sense for organic Nature. 

In the " Journal du Magnetisme," edit. Dupotet, of the 15th August, 
1856, in criticizing a treatise: "De la Catalepsie, memoire couronne"," 
1856, in 4to, the reviewer, Morin, says : " La plupart des caracteres qui 
distinguent la catalepsie, peuvent etre obtenus artinciellement et sans 
danger sur les sujets magne tiques, et c est meme la une des experiences 
les plus ordinaires des stances magn6tiques." [Add. to 3rd ed,} 


wished to play a piece he knew. As I did not like it, I re 
quested him not to play it; nevertheless he tried to 
do so and then, by means of my firm will that he 
should not, I succeeded in making him unable to remem 
ber the piece, in spite of all his endeavours." The thing 
is however brought to a climax when this immediate 
power of the will is extended even to inanimate bodies. 
However incredible this may appear, we have nevertheless 
two accounts of it coming from entirely different quarters. 
In the book just mentioned, 1 it is related and testified by 
witnesses, that Auguste K. caused the needle of the com 
pass to deviate at one time 7 and at another 4, this ex 
periment moreover being repeated four times. She did 
this moreover without any use of her hands, through her 
mere will, by looking steadily at it. The Parisian som 
nambulist, Prudence Bernard, again in a public seance in 
London, at which Mr. Brewster, the physicist s son and 
two other gentlemen from among the spectators acted as 
jurors, made the compass needle deviate and follow her 
movements by simply turning her head round. 2 

Now, if we thus see the will stated by me to be the 
thing in itself, the only real thing in all existence, the 
kernel of Nature accomplish through the human indi 
vidual, in Animal Magnetism and even beyond it, things 
which cannot be explained according to the causal nexus, 
i.e. in the regular course of Nature; if we find it in a 
sense even annulling Nature s laws and actually perform 
ing actio in distans, consequently manifesting a super 
natural, that is, metaphysical, mastery over Nature 
what corroboration better founded on fact could I desire 
for my doctrine ? Was not even Count Szapary, a magne- 

1 " Mittheilungen iiber die Somnambiile, Auguste K., in Dresden." 
1845, pp. 115, 116, and 3 16. 

2 See extract from the English periodical " Britannia," in " Galignani s 
Messenger," of the 23rd October, 1851. 


tiser who certainly did not know my philosophy, led by 
the results of his own experience, after writing the title 
of his book : " A word about Animal Magnetism, soul- 
bodies and vital essence," l to add the following remark 
able explanatory words : " or physical proofs that th<3 
current of Animal Magnetism is the element, and the 
will the principle of all spiritual and corporeal life ?" 2 
According to this, Animal Magnetism presents itself 
directly as practical Metaphysic, which was the term use! 
by Bacon of Yerulam 3 to define Magic in his classifica 
tion of the sciences: it is empirical or experimental 
Metaphysic. Further, because the will manifests itself 
in Animal Magnetism downright as the thing in itself, 
we see the principium individuationis (Space and Time), 
which belongs to mere phenomenon, at once annulled : 
its limits which separate individuals from one another, 
are destroyed; Space no longer separates magnetiser 
and somnambulist ; community of thoughts and of motions 
of the will appears ; the state of clairvoyance overleaps 
the relations belonging to mere phenomenon and con 
ditioned by Time and Space, such as proximity and dis 
tance, the present and the future. 

In consequence of these facts, notwithstanding many 
reasons and prejudices to the contrary, the opinion has 
gradually gained ground, nay almost raised itself to cer 
tainty, that Animal Magnetism and its phenomena are 
identical with part of the Magic of former times, of that 
ill-famed occult art, of whose reality not only the Chris 
tian ages by which it was so cruelly persecuted, but all, not 
excepting even savage, nations on the whole of the earth, 

1 Szapa.ry, " Ein Wort iiber Animalischen Magnetismus, Seelenkorper 
und Lebensessenz " (1840). 

2 " Oder physische Beweise, dass der Animalisch-magnetiseke Strom 
das Element, und der Wille das Princip alles geistigen und Korperlichen 
Lcbens sei." 

3 Bacon, " Instaur. Magna," L. III. 


have been equally convinced throughout all ages. The 
Twelve Tables of the Eomans, 1 the Books of Moses, and 
even Plato s Eleventh Book on Laws, already made its 
practice punishable by death, and Apuleius beautiful 
speech 2 before the court of justice, when defending himself 
against the charge of practising magic by which his life 
was menaced, proves how seriously this matter was taken 
even in the most enlightened Roman period, under the 
Antouines; since he merely tries to clear himself person 
ally from the charge in question, but by no means contests 
the possibility of witchcraft and even enters into a host of 
absurd details such as are wont to figure in all the me- 
diseval trials for witchcraft. The eighteenth century 
makes an exception as regards this belief in Magic, and this 
is mainly because Balthasar Becker, Thorn asius and some 
others, with the good intention of putting an end once for 
all to the cruel trials for witchcraft, declared all magic to 
be impossible. Favoured by the philosophy of the age, 
this opinion soon gained the upper hand, although only 
among the learned and educated classes. The common 
people have never ceased to believe in witchcraft, even in 
England; though here the educated classes contrive to 
unite a degrading religious bigotry with the firm incredu 
lity of a Saint Thomas (or of a Thomasius) as to all facts 
transcending the laws of impact and counter-impact, acids 
and alkalis, and refuse to lend an ear to their great coun 
tryman, when he tells them that there are more things in 
heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy/ 
One branch of Magic is still notoriously preserved and prac 
tised among the lower orders, being tolerated on account 
of its beneficent purpose. This is curing by charms (sym- 
pathetische Kuren, as they are called in German), the reality 
of which can hardly be doubted. Charming away warts, 

1 Plin. hist. nat. L. 30, c. 3. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 Apuleius, " Oratio cle Magia," p. 104. Bip. 


is one of the commonest forms of this practice, and of this 
Bacon of Yerulam, cautious and empirical though he was, 
attests the efficacy from personal experience. 1 The charm 
ing away of erisypelas in the face by a spell, is another 
instance, and so often succeeds, that it is easy to con 
vince oneself of its existence. Fever too is often success 
fully combated by spells, &c. &c. 2 That, in all this, the 
real agents are not the meaningless words and ceremonies, 
but that it is the will of the operator which acts, as in 
Animal Magnetism, needs no further explanation after 
what has been said above. For such as are still unac 
quainted with charm-cures, instances may be found in 
Kieser. 3 These two facts therefore, Animal Magnetism and 
Charm-curing, bear empirical evidence to the possibility of 
magical, as opposed to physical, influence, which possi 
bility had been so peremptorily rejected by the past cen 
tury ; since it refused to recognise as possible any other 

1 Bacon, Silva Silvarura," 997. 

2 In the "Times" of June the 12th, 1855, we find, p. 10, the fol 
lowing : 

" A Horse-charmer. 

" On the voyage to England the ship Simla experienced some heavy 
weather in the Bay of Biscay, in which the horses suffered severely, and 
some, including a charger of General Scarlett, became unmanageable. 
A valuable mare was so very bad, that a pistol was got ready to shoot 
her and to end her misery ; when a Eussian officer recommended a 
Cossak prisoner to be sent for, as he was a juggler and could, by 
charms, cure any malady in a horse. He was sent for, and immediately 
said he could cure it at once. He was closely watched, but the only 
thing they could observe him do was to take his sash off and tie a knot 
in it three several times. However the mare, in a few minutes, got on her 
feet and began to eat heartily, and rapidly recovered." [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 Kieser, " Archiv. fur den thierischen Magnetismus," vol. v. heft 3, 
p. 106 ; vol. viri. heft 3, p. 145 ; vol. ix. heft 2, p. 172 ; and vol. ix. heft 
1, p. 128; Dr. Most s book likewise: " Uber Sympathetische Mittel 
und Kuron," 1842, may be used as an introduction to this matter. (And 
even Pliny indicates a number of charm-cures in the 28th Book, chaps. 
6 to 17. [Add. to 3rd ed.]) 


than physical influences brought about in the way of the 
intelligible nexus of causality. 

It is a fortunate circumstance, that the rectification of 
this view in our time should have come from medical science; 
because it ensures us at the same time against the danger 
of the pendulum of opinion receiving too strong an impulse 
in the contrary direction, and thus carrying us back to 
the superstition of ruder ages. Besides, as I have said, 
Animal Magnetism and Charm- curing only save the reality 
of a part of Magic, which included a good deal more, a 
considerable portion of which must, for the present at 
least, remain under the old sentence of condemnation or be 
left in uncertainty ; whereas another portion will at any 
rate have to be conceived as possible, through its analogy 
to Animal Magnetism. For Animal Magnetism and 
Charm-cures are but salutary influences exercised for cura 
tive purposes, like those recorded in the "History of 
Magic" as practised by the so-called (Spanish) Saluda- 
dores, 1 who nevertheless were also condemned by the 
Church ; whereas Magic was far oftener practised with an 
evil intent. Nevertheless, to judge by analogy, it is more 
than probable, that the same inherent force which, by 
acting directly upon another individuality, can exercise a 
salutary influence, will be at least as powerful to exercise 
a prejudicial and pernicious one. If therefore there was 
reality in any part of ancient Magic beyond what may be 
referred to Animal Magnetism and curing by charms, it 
must assuredly have been in that which is called male- 
ficium and fascinatio, the very thing that gave rise to 
most of the trials for witchcraft. In Most s book, too, 
already mentioned, 2 a few facts are related which must 

1 Delrio. " Disqu. Mag." L. III. P. 2, q. 4, s. 7 and Bodinus, " Mag. 
Daemon," iii. 2. 

2 See note 2 , p. 334, especially pp. 40, 41, and Nos. 89, 91, and 
97 of Most s book. 


undoubtedly be ascribed to maleficium ; in Kieser * also 
we find instances of diseases which had been transmitted, 
especially to dogs, who died of them. In Plutarch 2 we 
find that fascinatio was already known to Democritus, 
who tried to explain it as a fact. Now admitting these 
stories to be true, they give us the key to the crime of 
witchcraft, the zealous persecution of which would there 
fore not have been quite without reason. For even if in 
most cases it may have been founded upon error and 
abuse, we are still not authorized to look upon our fore 
fathers as having been so utterly benighted, as to persecute 
with the utmost vigour and cruelty for so many ages an abso 
lutely impossible crime. From this point of view moreover, 
we can also understand that the common people should 
still even to the present day persist in attributing certain 
cases of illness to a maleficium, and are not to be dissuaded 
from this conviction. Now if we are thus induced by the 
progress of the age to modify the extreme view adopted by 
the last century concerning the absolute nullity of this ill- 
famed art at any rate with respect to some part of it 
still nowhere is caution more necessary than here, in order 
to fish out from the chaos of fraud, falsehood and absurdity 
contained in the writings of Agrippa von Nettesheim, 
Wierus, Bodinus, Delrio, Bindsfeldt, &c. &c., the few 
isolated truths that may lie in them. For, frequent 
though they may be throughout the world, nowhere have 
lies and deceit freer play than where Nature s la^ re 
avowedly set aside, nay declared invalid. Here there re 
we find the wildest fictions, the strangest freaks of the 
imagination worked up into an edifice, lofty as the sides, 
on the narrow foundation of the slight particle of truth there 
may have been in Magic, and in consequence of this, the 

1 Kieser, "Archiv. f. t. M." See the account of Bende Bensen s 
illness, vol. ix. to vol. xii. 

2 Plutarch, " Symposiacse qusestionis," qu. v. 7. 6. 


most sanguinary atrocities perpetrated age after age. In 
contemplating such things, the psychological reflection on 
the unlimited capability of the human intellect for accept 
ing the most incredible absurdities and the readiness of 
the human heart to set its seal to them by cruelty, prevails 
over every other. 

Yet the modification which has taken place of late in the 
views of German savants respecting magic, is not due 
exclusively to Animal Magnetism. The deep foundations 
of it had already been laid by the change in philosophy 
wrought by Kant, which makes German culture differ 
fundamentally from that of the rest of Europe, with 
respect to philosophy as well as to other branches of 
knowledge. For a man to be able to smile beforehand at 
all occult sympathies, let alone magical influences, he must 
find the world very, nay completely, intelligible. But this 
is only possible if he looks at it with the utterly superficial 
glance which puts away from it all suspicion that we 
human beings are immersed in a sea of riddles and mys 
teries and have no exhaustive knowledge or understanding 
either of things or of ourselves in any direct way. Nearly 
all great men have been of the opposite frame of mind 
and therefore, whatever age or nation they belonged to, 
have always betrayed a slight tinge of superstition. If 
our natural mode of knowing were one that handed over 
to us things in themselves immediately and consequently 
gave us the absolutely true relations and connections of 
things, we might then, no doubt, be justified in rejecting a 
priori, therefore unconditionally, all prescience of future 
events, all apparitions of absent, of dying, let alone of 
deceased persons, and all magical influence. But if all 
that we know is, as Kant teaches, mere phenomenon, the 
forms and laws of which do not extend to things in them 
selves, it must be obviously premature to reject all fore 
knowledge, all apparitions and all magic; since that 


rejection is based upon laws, whose a, priori character pre 
cisely restricts them to phenomena; whereas things in 
themselves, to which even our own inner self must belong, 
remain untouched by them. But it is quite possible for 
these very things in themselves to have relations with us 
from which the above-mentioned occurrences may have 
arisen, concerning which accordingly we have to wait for the 
decision a posteriori, and must not forestall it. That the 
English and French should persist in denying a priori all 
such occurrences, comes at the bottom from the influence 
of Locke s philosophy, under which these nations still 
stand as to all essential points, and by which we are taught 
that, after merely subtracting sensation, we know things 
in themselves. According to this view therefore, the 
laws of the material world are held to be ultimate, and 
no other influence than influxus physicus is admitted. 
Consequently these nations believe, it is true, in a phy 
sical, but not in a metaphysical, science, and there 
fore reject all other than so-called "Natural Magic:" 
a term which contains the same contradictio in adjecto as 
" Supernatural Physics," but is nevertheless constantly 
used quite seriously, while the latter was used but once, 
and then in joke, by Lichtenberg. On the other hand, the 
common people, with their universal readiness to give 
credit to supernatural influences, express by it in their own 
way the conviction, that all things which we perceive and 
comprehend are mere phenomena, not things in themselves ; 
although, with them, conviction is only felt. I quote the 
following passage from Kant s " Grundlegung zur Meta- 
physik der Sitten," as a proof that this is not saying too 
much : " There is an observation requiring no great subtlety 
of reflection, which we may on the contrary suppose the most 
ordinary understanding capable of making, albeit in its 
own way and by an obscure distinction of the faculty of 
judgment, which it calls feeling. It is this : that all our 


involuntary representations (such as those of the senses) 
give us no further knowledge of objects than as they affect 
us, whereby we are left in ignorance as to what those 
objects may be in themselves ; that, as far as this sort of 
representation is concerned therefore, we are still only 
able by this means to attain knowledge of phenomena, but 
never of things in themselves, even by dint of the utmost 
clearness and the most strenuous attention the under 
standing is able to give to this point. When once this 
distinction is made, however, it stands to reason, that the 
existence of something else behind these phenomena, 
something which is not phenomenon, i.e. the thing in 
itself, has still to be admitted and assumed." * 

When we read D. Tiedemann s " History of Magic," a 
we are astonished at the persistency with which mankind 
have clung to the thought of Magic in all places and at all 
times, notwithstanding frequent failure ; and we come to 
the conclusion, that this thought must, to say the least, be 
deeply rooted in human nature,, if not in things in general, 
and cannot be a mere arbitrary creation of the fancy. Al 
though Magic is differently denned by the various authors 
who have treated of it, the fundamental thought which 
predominates in all its definitions is nevertheless unmis- 
takeable. For the opinion, that there must be another quite 
different way of producing changes in the world besides 
the regular one through the causal nexus between bodies, 
and one moreover which is not founded at all upon that 
nexus, has found favour in all ages and countries. There 
fore also the means belonging to this second way appeared 
absurd, when they were viewed in the same light as the 
first; since the cause applied was obviously not suited 

1 Kant, "First Principles of Ethical Metaphysic," 3rd edition, p. 105. 

8 D. Tiedemann, " Disputatio de qusestione, quse fuerit artum magi 
carum origo." Marb. 1787. A prize-essay written for the Gottingen 


to the effect intended and a causal nexus between them 
was impossible. But here it was assumed, that apart 
from the outer connection between the phenomena of 
this world on which the nexus physicus is founded, there 
must exist another besides, passing through the very 
essence in itself of all things : a subterranean connection as 
it were, by means of which immediate action was possible 
from one point of the phenomenon on to every other point, 
through a nexus metaphysicus ; 

that accordingly, it must be possible to act upon things 
from inside, instead of from outside, as is usual ; 

that it must be possible for phenomenon to act upon 
phenomenon by means of that being in itself, which is one 
and the same in all phenomena ; 

that, just as we act causally as natura naturata, we 
might probably be able to act also as natura naturans, and 
momentarily to enable the microcosm to play the part of 
the macrocosm ; 

that, however firm the partition walls of individuation 
and separation might be, they might nevertheless occa 
sionally permit a communication to take place as it were be 
hind the scenes, or like a secret game under the table ; and 

that, just as a neutralisation of individual isolation takes 
place in somnambulistic clairvoyance, so likewise might a 
neutralisation of the will in the individual be possible. Such 
a thought as this cannot have arisen empirically, nor can 
it have been confirmation through experience that has pre 
served it throughout all ages and in all countries : for in 
the majority of cases experience must result downright un 
favourably to it. I opine therefore, that the origin of this 
thought, which has universally held its ground with the 
whole of mankind and, in spite of so much conflicting 
experience, in defiance of common sense, has never been 
eradicated, must be sought at great depth : namely in the 
inward feeling of the omnipotence of the will in itself- of 


that will, which constitutes at once the inner essence of 
Man and of the whole of Nature and in the assumption 
connected with it that, somehow or other, this omnipotence 
might possibly for once make itself felt, even when pro 
ceeding from the individual. People were unable to in 
vestigate and distinguish the difference between the capa 
bilities of the will as thing in itself and the same will in its 
individual manifestation ; but they assumed without fur 
ther ado, that under certain circumstances, the will might 
be enabled to break through the barriers of individuation. 
For the above-mentioned feeling rebelled obstinately 
against the knowledge forced upon it by experience, that 

" Der Gott der mir im Busen wohnt, 

Kann tief mein Innerstes erregen, 
Der iiber alien meinen Kraften thront, 

Er kann nach Aussen nichts bewegen." 

According to the fundamental thought just expounded, we 
find that the physical medium used in all attempts at 
magic, never was regarded in any other light than in thnt 
of a vehicle for a thing metaphysical ; otherwise it coukl 
evidently stand in no relation whatever to the effect con 
templated. These media consisted in cabalistic words, sym 
bolical actions, traced figures, wax images, &c. &c. We see 
too that, according to the original feeling, what this vehicle 
conveyed, was in the last resort always an act of volition 
that had been connected with it. The very natural induce 
ment to do this, was the observation, that every moment men 
became aware of a completely unaccountable, that is, evi 
dently metaphysical, agency of the will, in the movements 
or their own bodies. Might not this agency, they thought, 
be extended to other bodies also ? To find out a way to 
annul the isolation in which the will finds itself in each in 
dividual, and to extend the immediate sphere of the will s 
action beyond the organism of the person willing, was the 
nim of Magic. 


A great deal was nevertheless still wanting ere this fun 
damental thought, from which Magic seems properly to 
have sprung, could pass over at once into distinct con 
sciousness and be recognised in abstracto, and ere Magic 
could at once understand itself. Only a few thoughtful 
and learned writers of former ages as I mean soon to prove 
by quotations express the distinct thought, that it is in the 
will itself that the magic power lies, and that the strange 
signs and acts together with the senseless words that 
accompanied them, which passed for the means of exorcis 
ing and the connecting link with demons, are in fact merely 
vehicles and means for fixing the will, by which the act of 
volition, which is to act magically, ceases to be mere wish 
and becomes deed, or, to use the language of Paracelsus, 
" receives a corpus" and the individual will in a sense dis 
tinctly proclaims that it is now acting as general will, as 
will in itself. For in every act of Magic charm-cure or 
whatever else it may be the outward action (the connect 
ing link) is exactly what the passes are in magnetising : 
i.e. not what is really essential, but the mere vehicle, 
that by which the will, the only real agent, is directed and 
fixed in the material world and enters into reality. As a 
rule therefore, it is indispensable. From the rest of the 
writers of those times we gather that, in conformity with 
that fundamental thought of Magic, their only aim was to 
obtain absolute, arbitrary power over Nature. But they 
were unable to elevate themselves to the thought that this 
power must be a direct one ; they conceived it, on the con 
trary, absolutely as an indirect one. For all religions in 
all countries had placed Nature under the dominion of 
gods and of demons. Now, it was the magician s endea 
vour to subject these gods and demons to his will, to in 
duce, nay, to force them to serve him ; and he attributed 
all that he succeeded in achieving to their agency, just as 
Mesmer attributed the success of his Magnetism to the mag- 


netic rods he held in his hands, instead of to his will which 
was the real agent. It was in this sense that all poly 
theistic nations took the matter, and even Plotinus, 1 but 
more especially lamblichns, understood Magic : that is, as 
Theurgy, an expression which Porphyry was the first to 
use. That divine aristocracy, Pantheism, was favourable to 
this interpretation, since it distributed the dominion over 
the different forces of Nature among as many gods and 
demons mostly mere personifications of natural forces 
and the magician, by persuasion or by force, subjected now 
one, now the other of these divinities to his power and 
made them do his bidding. But in a Divine Monarchy, 
where all Nature obeys a single ruler, the thought of con 
tracting a private alliance with the Almighty, let alone of 
exercising sovereignty over him, would have been too auda 
cious. Therefore where Judaism, Christianity or Islam 
prevailed, the omnipotence of the one God stood in the 
way of this interpretation of Magic : an omnipotence which 
the magician could not venture to attack. He had no 
alternative therefore, but to take refuge with the Devil, 
and with this rebellious spirit perhaps even direct de 
scendant of Ahriman to whom some power over Nature 
was still attributed, he now entered into a compact, by 
which he ensured to himself his assistance. This was 
"necromancy" (the black art ). Its antithesis, white 
Magic, was opposed to it by the circumstance that, in it, 
the magician did not make friends with the Devil, but 
rather solicited the permission, not to say co-operation, 
of the Almighty himself, to intercede with the angels ; 
oftener still, he invoked devils by pronouncing the rarer 
Hebrew names and titles of the One God, such as Adon-Ai, 
&c. &c., and compelled them to obey him, without promising 

1 Here and there, Plotinus betrays a more correct knowledge, for 
instance, " Enn." ii. lib. iii. c. 7 j " Enn." iv. lib. iii. c. 12, et lib. ix. 


them anything in return for their services, in a hell-com 
pulsion 1 (Hollenzwang). But all these mere interpreta 
tions and outward trappings of the thing were received so 
entirely as its essence and as objective processes, that 
writers like Bodinus, Delrio, Bindsfeldt, &c., whose know 
ledge of magic was second-hand and not derived from per 
sonal experience, all assert the essential characteristic of 
Magic to be, that it does not act either through forces of 
Nature or in a natural way, but through the assistance of 
the Devil. This view was, and long remained, current 
everywhere, locally modified according to the religions 
which prevailed in different countries. The laws against 
sorcery and the trials for witchcraft were based upon it ; 
likewise, wherever the possibility of Magic was contested, 
the attacks were generally directed against this opinion. 
An objective view, such as this, was an inevitable conse 
quence of the decided Realism which prevailed throughout 
ancient and mediaeval Europe and which Descartes was the 
first to disturb. Till then, Man had not learnt to direct 
the light of speculative thought towards the mysterious 
depths of his own inner self, but, on the contrary, had 
sought everything outside himself. Above all the thought 
of making the will he found within him rule over Nature, 
was so bold, that people would have been alarmed by it : 
therefore it was made to rule over fictitious beings, sup 
posed by the prevailing superstition to have command over 
Nature, in order through them to obtain at least indirect 
mastery over Nature. Every sort of god or demon more 
over, is always a hypostasis, by which believers of all sects 
and colours bring to their own comprehension the Metaphysi 
cal, that which lies behind Nature, that which gives her 
existence and consistence and consequently rules over her. 
Thus, when it is said, that Magic acts by the help of demons, 

1 Delrio, " Disq. mag." L. ii. qu. 2. Agrippa a Nettesheym, " De 
Vanit. Scient." c. 45. 


the meaning which lies at the bottom of this thought still 
is, that it is an agency which is not physically, but metaphy 
sically exercised : that it is not a natural, but a supernatural, 
agency. Now if, in the small amount of fact which speaks 
in favour of the reality of Magic: that is, in Animal Mag 
netism and charm-cures, we still do not recognise anything 
but an immediate action of the will which here manifests its 
direct power outside, instead of inside, the individual ; if 
moreover, as I am about to show and to substantiate by de 
cisive, unequivocal citations, those who are more deeply 
initiated into ancient Magic, derive all its effects from the 
magician s will alone : this is surely strong empirical evi 
dence in support of my doctrine, that the Metaphysical in 
general, that which alone exists apart from representation, 
the thing in itself of the universe is nothing but what is 
known to us within ourselves as the will. 

Now, if the direct power which may occasionally be 
exercised over Nature by the will, was conceived by those 
magicians as a merely indirect one, acquired by the help of 
demons, this still could not prevent its efficiency wherever 
and whenever it may have taken place. For, precisely 
because, in things of this kind, the will acts in itself, in 
its primariness, therefore apart from representation, its 
efficiency cannot be frustrated by erroneous conceptions of 
the intellect ; on the contrary, the distance here is a wide 
one between theory and practice : the errors of the former 
do not stand in the way of the latter, nor does a correct 
theory qualify for practice. Mesmer, in the beginning, 
attributed his agency to the magnetic rods he held in his 
hands and later on explained the wonders of Animal 
Magnetism by a materialistic theory of a subtle, all- 
permeating fluid; nevertheless he produced wonderfully 
powerful effects. I once myself knew the proprietor of an 
estate, whose peasants were wont by tradition to have their 
feverish attacks dispelled by a spell of their master s. Now, 


although he "believed he had convinced himself of the im 
possibility of all such things, yet he continued good- 
naturedly to comply with their wish as usual, and indeed 
often succeeded in relieving them. This success he ascribed 
to his peasants firm belief, forgetting that a similar faith 
ought also to bring success to the medical treatment which 
is so often applied with complete inefficacy to believing 

Now, if Theurgy and Demonomagic, as described above, 
were but the mere interpretation and outward trappings of 
the thing, the mere husk, at which the majority were con 
tent to stop short ; there were nevertheless some, who went 
below the surface and quite recognised that the agent in 
influences supposed to proceed from magic, was absolutely 
nothing but the will. We must not however look for such 
deeper observers as these among the discountenancers and 
antagonists of Magic, and the majority of the writers on 
this subject belong precisely to these : they derived their 
knowledge exclusively from Courts of Justice and from 
the examination of witnesses, so that they merely describe 
the outside of the matter ; and, if at any time they chanced, 
through confessions, to gain an insight into the inner 
processes, they took good care not to betray that knowledge, 
lest, by doing so, they should contribute to diffuse the 
terrible vice of sorcery. To this class belong Bodinus, 
Delrio, Bindsfeldt, and others. For information as to the 
real nature of the thing, we must on the contrary go to 
philosophers and investigators of Nature, who wrote in 
those times of prevailing superstition. Now, from wliat 
they say, it clearly follows, that the real agent in Magic, 
just as in Animal Magnetism, is nothing but the will. 
Here I must quote some passages in support of this 
assertion. 1 Theophrastus Paracelsus especially discloses 

1 Roger Bacon already in the thirteenth century said :...." Quod si 
ultcrius aligua anima maligna cogitat ftrtiter de infectione altcrius, 


perhaps more concerning the inner nature of Magic than 
any other writer, and does not even hesitate to give a 
minute description of the processes used in it. 1 He says : a 
" To be observed concerning wax images : if I bear malice 
in my will against anyone, that malice must be carried out 
by some medium or corpus. Thus it is possible for my 
spirit to stab or wound another person without help from 
my body in using a sword, merely by my fervent desire. 
Therefore it is also possible for me to convey my opponent s 
spirit into the image by my will and then to deform 
or paralyze it at pleasure. You must know, that the 
influence of the will is a great point in medicine. For if a 
man hate another and begrudge him anything good, it is 
possible that if he curse him, that curse may take effect. 
This occurs also with animals and more easily than with 
men ; for the spirit of man has far greater power of resis 
tance than that of animals." 

And p. 375 : " It follows from this, that one image has 
magic power over another, not by virtue of the characters 
or anything of that kind impressed on the virgin wax; 
but the imagination overcomes its own constellation, so as 
to become a means for fulfilling the will of its heaven, i.e. 
of its man." 

p. 334: "All the imagining of man comes from his 
heart. The heart is the sun of the microcosm. And all 
the imagining of man passes from the small sun of the 
microcosm into the sun of the great Universe, into the heart 
of the macrocosm. Thus the imaginatio of the microcosm 
is a seed which becomes material," &c. 

atgue ardenter desideret et certitudinaliter intendat, atque vehementer con- 
sideret se posse nocere, non est dubiwm, guin natura obediet cogitationibiis 
anlm<B." (See Kogeri Bacon, " Opus Majus," Londini, 1733, p. 252.) 

1 Theophrastus Paracelsus, Strassburg edition in two folio vols., vol. i. 
pp. 91, 353, et segq. and p. 789 j vol. ii. pp. 362, 496. 

2 Vol. i. p. 19. 


p. 364 : " It suffices for you to know what rigorous 
imagination does, which is the beginning of all magical 

p. 789 : " Even my thought therefore is a looking at a 
mark. Now I must not turn my eye with my hands in 
this or that direction ; but my imagination turns it as I 
wish. And this is also to be understood of walking : I 
desire, I propose to myself, therefore my body moves, and 
the firmer my thoughts, the more sure it is that I shall run. 
Thus imaginatio alone is an impulse for my running." 

p. 837 : " Imaginatio used against me may be em 
ployed with such rigour, that I may be killed by the 
imaginatio of another person." 

Vol. ii. p. 274 : " Imagination comes from longing 
and desire : envy, hatred, proceed from longing, for they 
do not arise unless you long for them. As soon as you 
wish, the act of the imagination follows. This long- 
ing must be quick, ardent, lively, as that of a pregnant 
woman, &c. &c. A general curse is commonly verified. 
Why ? It conies from the heart, and the seed lies and is 
born in that coming from the heart. Thus parents curses 
also come from the heart. The curse of the poor is like 
wise imaginatio. The prisoner s curse, also mere imagi 
natio, from the heart Thus too, when one 

man wishes to stab or paralyze, &c., another by means of 
his imaginatio, he must first attract the thing and instru 
ment to himself and then he can impress it (with his 
wish) : for whatever enters into it, may also go out of it 
again by the medium of thought as well as by that of the 

hands In such imagining, women outdo men .... 

for they are more ardent in revenge." 

p. 298: " Magica is a great occult wisdom; just a;3 

Eeason is a great, open folly No armour avails 

against sorcery, for it wounds the inner man, the vital 
spirit Some magicians make an image in the shape 


of a man they intend [to harm], knock a nail into the sole 
of its foot, and the man is invisibly struck with lameness, 
until the nail is removed." 

p. 307 : " We ought to know, that we may convey the 
spirit of any man into an image, solely by faith and by our 
strong imagination. No incantation is needed, and the 
ceremonies, drawing of circles, fumigations, seals, &c. <fcc. 
are mere humbug to mislead. Homunculi and images are 

made, &c. &c by which all the operations, powers 

and will of man are carried out The human heart 

is indeed so great a thing, that no one can express it : as 
God is eternal and imperishable, so also is the heart of 
man. If we men thoroughly recognised our heart, nothing 
would be impossible for us on earth Perfect imagina 
tion, coming from the stars (astris) arises from the heart." 

p. 513 : " Imaginatio is confirmed and rendered perfect 
by the belief that it really takes place : for every doubt 
injures the effect. Faith must confirm the imagination, 

for faith decides the will But just the fact that 

man does not always perfectly imagine, perfectly believe, 
causes acts to be called uncertain, which nevertheless may 
certainly and quite well exist." A passage from Campa- 
nella s book, " De sensu rerum et magia," may serve to 
elucidate this last sentence. Efficiunt alii ne homo possi 
futuere, si tantum credat : non enim potest facere quod non 
credit posse facer e (1. iv. c. 18). 

Agrippa von Nettesheim 1 speaks in the same sense. 
" Non minus subjicitur corpus alieno animo, quam alieno 
corpori;" and: 2 " Quidquid dictat animus fortissime odientis 
habet efficaciam nocendi et destruendi ; similiter in ceteris, 
quce affectat animus fortissimo desiderio. Omnia enim quce 
tune agit et dictat ex characteribus, figuris, verbis, gestibus 
et ejusmodi, omnia sunt adjuvantia appetitum animce et 
acquirunt mirdbiles quasdam virtutes, turn ab anima labo~ 

1 " De occulta philosophia," lib. 1, c. 66. 2 Ibid. c. 67. 


rantis in ilia Jiora, quando ipsum appetitus ejusmodi 
maxime invadit, turn ab injluxu coelesti animum tune 
taliter movente" 1 "Inest hominum animis virtus qucedam 
immutandi et ligandi res et homines ad id quod desiderat, 
et omnes res obediunt illi, quando fertur in magnum exces- 
sum alicujus passionis, vel virtutis, in tantum, ut superet 
eos, quos ligat. Radix ejusmodi ligationis ipsa est affectio 
animce vehemens et exterminata" 

And likewise Jul. Cses. Vanniims, "De admir. naturae 
arcan." L. iv. dial. 5, 435 : " Vehementem imagina- 
tionem, cui spiritus et sanguis obediunt, rem mente concep- 
tam realiter efficere, non solum intra, sed et extra" 2 

Just so Job. Bapt. Van Helmont, who takes great 
pains to explain away as much as possible of the Devil s 
influence, in order to attribute it to the will. I quote a 
few passages from the voluminous collection of his works, 
Ortus Medicince : 

Recepta injecta. 12. Quum hostis naturce (diabolus) 

1 " De occulta philosophia," lib. 1, cc. 66, 67 et 68. 

2 Ibid. p. 440 : Addunt Avicenna dictum : " Ad validam alicujus imagi- 
nationem cadit camelus." Ibid. p. 478, speaking of charms : fascinations 
guis cum muliere coeat, he says : Eguidem in Germania complures allo- 
cutus sum vulgari cognomento Necromantistas, qui ingenue confessi sunt, 
se firme satis credere, meras fabulas esse opiniones, qua de dcsmonibus 
tiulgo circumferuntur, aliquid tamen ipsos operari, vel vi herbarum com- 
movendo phantasiam^ vel vi imaginationis et fidei vehementissimce, quam 
ipsorum nugacissimis confictis excantationibus adhibent ignarce iwilieres, 
quibus persuadent, recitatis magna cum devotione aliquibus preculis, 
statim effici fascinum, quare credulce ex intimo cordis effundunt excanta- 
tiones, atque ita, non vi verborum, neque caracterum, ut ipsce existimant, sed 
spiritibus *), fascini inferendi percupidis exsufflatis proximos effascinant. 
Hincfit, ut ipsi Necromantici, in causa propria, vel aliena, si soli sint 
operarii t nihil unquam mirabile pr<sstiterint : car ent enim fide, quce cuncta 
operatur. [Add. to 3rd ed.j 

* Schopenhauer has added to spiritibus in parenthesis (sc. vitalibus et 


ipsam applicationem complere ex se nequeat, suscitat ideam 
fortis desiderii et odii in saga, ut, mutuatis istis mentalibus 
et liberis mediis, transferat suum velle per quod quodque 
afficere intendit). 1 Quorsum imprimis etiam execrationes, 
cum idea desiderii et terroris, odiosissimis suis scrofis prce- 
scribit, 13. Quippe desiderium istud, ut estpassio imagi- 
nantis, ita quoque creat ideam, non quidem inanem, sed exe- 
cutivam atque incantamenti motivam. 19. prout jam 
demonstravi, quod vis incantamenti potissima pendeat ab idea 
naturali sagce. 

Deinjectis materialibus. 15. Saga, per ens natu- 
rale, imaginative format ideam liber am, naturalem et nocuam. 
. . . Sagce operantur virtute naturali. . . . Homo etiam 
dimittit medium aliud executivum, emanativum et manda- 
tivum ad incantandum hominem ; quod medium est Idea fortis 
desiderii. Est nempe desiderio inseparable ferri circa optata. 

De sympatheticis mediis. 2. Idea? scilicet desiderii, 
per modum inftuentiarum ccelestium, jaciuntur in proprium 
objectum, utcunque localiter remotum. Diriguntur nempe a 
desiderio objectum sibi specificante. 

De magnetica vulnerum curatione. 76. Igitur 
in sanguine est qumdam potestas exstatica, quce, si quando 
ardenti desiderio excita fuerit, etiam ad absens aliquod ob 
jectum, exterioris hominis spiritu deducenda sit: ea autem 
potestas in exteriori homine latet, velut in potentia; nee 
ducitur ad actum, nisi excitetur, accensa imaginationeferventi 
desiderio, vel arte aliqua pari. 98. Anima, prorsum 
spiritus, nequaquam posset spiritum vitalem (corpbreum equi- 
dem), multo minus carnem et ossa movere aut concitare, nisi 
vis illi qucepiam naturalis, magica tamen et epiritualis, etc 
anima in spiritum et corpus descenderet. Cedo, quo pacto 
obediret spiritus corporeusjussui animce, nisi jussus spiritum, 

1 " Der Teufel hat sie s zwar gelehrt j 

Allein der Teufel kann s nicht machen." Faust. 

[Add. to 3rd ed.] 


et deinceps corpus movendo foret ? At extemplo contra hanc 
magicam motricem objicies, istam esse intra concretum sihi, 
suumque hospitium naturale, idcirco hanc etsi magam vocite*- 
mus, tantum erit nominis detorsio et dbusus, siquid&m vcra 
et superstitiosa magica non ex anima basin desumit ; cum, 
eadem hcec nil quidquam valeat, extra corpus suum movere, 
alterare aut ciere. Hespondeo, vim et magicam illam natu- 
ralem animce, quce extra se agat, virtute imaginis Dei, latere 
jam obscuram in Jiomine, velut obdormire (post prcevarica- 
tionem), excitationisque indigam: quce eadem, utut somno- 
lenta, ac velut ebria, alioqui sit in nobis quotidie : sufficit 
tamen ad obeunda munia in corpore suo : dormit itaque 
scientia et potestas magica, et solo nutu actrix in homine. 
102. Satan itaque vim magicam hanc excitat (secus dor- 
mientem et scientia exterioris hominis impeditam) in suis 
mancipiis, et inservit eadem illis, ensis vice in manu poteniis, 
id est sagce. Nee aliud prorsus Satan ad homicidium affcrt, 
prceter excitationem dictce potestatis somnolentce. 106. 
Saga in stabulo absente occidit equum : virtus quondam naiu- 
ralis a spiritu sagce, et non a Satana, derivatur, quce opprimat 
vel strangulet spiritum vitalem equi. 139. Spiritus voco 
magnetismi patronos, non qui ex coelo demittuntur, multoque 
minus de infernalibus sermo est ; sed de Us, qinfiunt in i]>so 
Jiomine, sicut ex silice ignis : ex voluntate hominis nempe 
aliquantillum spiritus vitalis influentis desumitur, et id 
ipsum assumit idealem entitatem, tanquam formam ad 
complementum. Qua nacta perfectione, spiritus mediam 
sortem inter corpora et non corpora assumit. Mittilur 
autem eo, quo voluntas ipsum dirigit ; idealis igitur entifas 
. . . nullis stringitur locorum, temporum aut dimcn- 
sionum imperiis, ea nee daemon est, nee ejus ullus effectus ; 
sed spiritualis qucedam est actio illius, nobis plane natu- 
raUs et vernacula. 168. Ingens mysterium propalare 
hactenus distuli, ostendere videlicet, ad manum in homine 
sit am esse energiam, qua, solo nutu et phantasia sua, qut-at 


agere extra se et imprimere virtutem aliquam, influentiam 
deinceps perseverantem, et agentem in objectum longissime 

P. Pomponatius also says : Sic contigit, tales esse homines, 
qui habeant ejusmodi vires in potentia, et per vim imaginati- 
vam et desiderativam cum actu operantur, talis virtus exit 
ad actum, et afficit sanguinem et spiritum, quce per evapora- 
tionempetunt ad extra et producunt tales effectus. 1 

Jane Leade, an English mystic visionary of Cromwell s 
time and pupil of Pordage, has given us some very curious 
disclosures of this kind. She is led to Magic in a very 
singular way. For, as the doctrine of their becoming one 
with the G-od of their religion is a fundamental cha 
racteristic of all Mystics, so is it with Jane Leade also. 
Now, with her however, the human will has its share in the 
omnipotence of the Divine will as a consequence of the 
two having become one, and accordingly acquires magic 
power. What other magicians therefore believe to be due 
to a compact with the Devil, she attributes to her becom 
ing one with her G-od. Her Magic is therefore in the 
highest sense white Magic. Besides, this alters nothing 
as to the practice and results. She is reserved and mys 
terious, as people had to be in those times; still it is 
easy to see that the thing is not a mere theoretical corol 
lary, but that it has sprung from knowledge and expe 
rience obtained in another way. 

It is in her " Revelation of Revelations " 2 that we find 
the chief passage ; but the following one, which is rather 
an abridgment than a literal quotation and is contained 
in Horst s " Zauberbibliothek," 3 comes from the same 
book : " Magic power enables its possessor to rule over 

1 De incantationibus. Opera Basil. 1567, p. 44. 

2 German translation, Amsterdam, 1695, pp. 126 to 151, especially 
the pages headed " the power of calm will." 

8 Horst, " Zauberbibliothek " (Library of Magic), vol. i. p. 325. 
A A 


and to renew the creation i.e. the animal, vegetable and 
mineral kingdoms so that, were many to co-operate in one 
magical power, Nature might be created anew as a paradise. 
. . . How is this magic power to be acquired ? By renas 
cence through faith : that is, by our will harmonizing with 
the divine wiW." For faith subjects the world to us, inasmuch 
as our own will, when it is in harmony with the divine 
will, results, as St. Paul tells us, in making everything 
submit to and obey us." Thus far Horst. p. 131 of the 
" Revelation, &c.," Jane Leade shows that it was by the 
force of his will that Christ worked miracles, as, for in 
stance, when he said to the leper : " I will ; be thou 
clean." Sometimes however he left it to the will of those 
who, he saw, believed in him, saying to them : " * What 
will ye that I shall do unto you ? in which cases no 
less was done for them than they had desired in their 
will that the Lord should do. These words of our 
Saviour s are well deserving of notice, since the highest 
Magia lies in the will, so far as it is in union with the will 
of the Almighty: when these two wheels fit into each 
other, becoming in a sense one, they are, &c." Again, 
p. 132, she says: "For what could resist that which is 
united with the will of God ? The power of such a will is 
so great, that it always achieves its end. It is no naked 
will deprived of its clothing, or power ; on the contrary, it 
brings with it an irresistible omnipotence, which enables it 
to uproot, to plant, to put to death and to bring to life, to 
bind and to loose, to heal and to injure, which power will 
be collected and concentrated in its entirety in the royal, 
free-born will. Of this power we shall attain knowledge, 
when we shall have been made one with the Holy Q-host, 
or when we shall be united in one spirit and being." 
Again, p. 133 : " We must quench or drown altogether the 
many multifarious wills which arise out of the mixed 
essence of souls, and they must lose themselves in the 


abysmal depth from winch there will then arise and pre 
sent itself the virgin will, which was never the slave of 
anything belonging to degenerate man ; on the contrary, 
it stands in connection with the Almighty Power, quite free 
and pure, and will infallibly produce fruits and results 
quite similar to those of the divine will . . . wherefrom 
the burning oil of the Holy Grhost flows up in Magic, as it 
emits its fiery sparks." 

Jacob Bohme too * speaks of Magic precisely in the sense 
here described. Among other things he says : " Magic is 
the mother of the essence of all beings : for it creates itself 

and is understood in desire True Magic is not a 

being, but the desiring spirit of the being. In fine: Magic 
is action in the will s spirit." 

In corroboration, or at any rate in explanation, of the 
above view of the will as the real agent in magic, a curious 
and interesting anecdote, related by Campanella, from 
Avicenna, may here find its place. 2 " Mulieres qucedam 
condixerunt, ut irent animi gratia in viridarium. Una 
earum non ivit. Ceterce colludentes arangium acceperunt 
et perforabant eum stilis acutis, dicentes : ita perforamus 
mulierem talem, quce nobiscum venire detrectavit, et, pro- 
jecto arangio intra fontem, dbierunt. Postmodum mulierem 
iUam dolentem invenerunt,. quod se transfigi quasi clavis 
acutis sentiret, db ea hora, qua arangium ceterce perforarunt : 
et cruciata est valde donee arangii elavos extraxerunt impre- 
cantes bona et salutem." 

Krusenstern 3 gives a very curious and minute descrip- 

1 J. Bohme, " Erklarung von sechs Punkten," under Punkt v. 

* Campanella, " De sensu return et magia," 1. iv. c. 18. 

8 Krusenstern s words are : " A universal belief in witchcraft, which 
is held to be very important by all islanders, seems to me to be connected 
with their religion j for they assert that the priests alone possess magic 
power, although some of the common people also, it is said, profess to have 
the secret, probably in order to make themselves feared, and to exact pre- 


tion of maleficent sorcery as practised, it is said success 
fully, by the priests of the savage tribes on the island of 
Nukahiva, the procedure in which is exactly similar to that 
of our cures by charms. This fact is especially remark 
able on account of the identity of the thing, notwithstand 
ing the distance from all European tradition. With it 
ought to be compared Bende Bendsen s account of a head- 
acH he caused in another person by sorcery, through the 
medium of some of that person s hair which had been cut 
off. He concludes with the following words : " As far as 
I can learn, what is called witchcraft consists simply in 
preparing and applying noxious magnetic charms com 
bined with a maleficent influence of the will: this is the 
detestable league with Satan." l 

The agreement of all these writers, not only among 
themselves, but with the convictions to which Animal 
Magnetism has led in latter years, and finally even with 
what might be concluded from my speculative doctrine on 
this point, is surely a most remarkable phenomenon. This 

sents. This sorcery, which they call Kaha, consists in inflicting a linger 
ing death upon those to whom they bear a grudge, twenty days being how 
ever fixed as the term for this. They go to work as follows. Whoever wishes 
to practise revenge by means of sorcery, seeks to procure either saliva 
or urine or excrements of his enemy in some way or other. These he 
mixes with a powder, lays the compound in a bag which is woven in a 
special manner, and buries it. The most important secret is in the art 
of weaving the bag in the right way and of preparing the powder. As 
soon as it is buried, the effects show themselves in the person who is the 
object of this witchcraft. He sickens, becomes daily weaker, loses at 
last all his strength, and in twenty days is sure to die. If, on the other 
hand, he attempts to divert his enemy s revenge from himself by offering 
up a pig, or making some other valuable present in order to save his 
life, he may yet be saved, even on the nineteenth day, and no sooner is 
the bag unburied, than the attacks of illness cease. Ho recovers gradually, 
and after a few days is quite restored to health." " Reise um die 
Welt." Ed. in 12mo, 1812, Part i., p. 249 et seq. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

1 Kieser, "Archiv fiir thierischen Magnetismus," vol. ix. s. i. in the 
note, pp. 128-132. 


much is at any rate certain, that at the bottom of all the 
experiments, successful or unsuccessful, which have ever 
been made in Magic, there lies an anticipation of my Meta- 
physic. For in them is expressed the consciousness, that 
the causal law only connects phenomena, while the inner 
nature of things remains independent of it; and also, 
that if any direct influence on Nature be possible from 
within, it can only take place through the will itself. But 
even if Magic were to be ranked as practical Metaphysic, 
according to Bacon s classification, it is certain that no 
other theoretical Metaphysic would stand in the right 
relation to it but mine, by which the world is resolved into 
"Will and Representation. 

The zealous cruelty with which Magic has always been 
persecuted by the Church and to which the papal malleus 
maleficarum bears terrible evidence, seems not to have for 
its sole basis the criminal purposes often associated with 
the practice of Magic or the part assumed to be played 
by the Devil, but rather to proceed partly from a vague 
foreboding and fear lest Magic should trace back its 
original power to its true source ; whereas the Church has 
assigned to it a place outside Nature. 1 The detestation 
shown by the cautious clergy of England towards Animal 
Magnetism 2 tends to confirm this supposition, and also 
the active zeal with which they oppose table-turning, 
which at any rate is harmless, yet which, for the same 

1 They scent something of the 

" Nos habitat, non tartara sed nee sidera coeli : 

Spiritus in nobis qui viget, ilia facit." 

(Not in the heavens it lives, nor yet in hell ; 

The spirit that does it all, doth in us dwell.) 

Compare Johann Beaumont, " Historisch-Physiologisch-und Theolo- 
gischer Tractat von Geistern, Erscheinungen, Hexereyen und andern 
Zauber-Handeln, Halle im Magdeburgischen, 1721," p. 281. [Add. to 
3rd ed.] 

a Compare Parerga, vol. i. p. 257 (2nd ed. vol. i. p. 286). 


reason, has been violently assailed by the anathemas of the 
French, and even of the German, clergy. 1 

1 On the 4th of August, 1856, the Roman Inquisition issued a circular 
to all the bishops, in which it called upon them in the name of the 
Church to use their utmost influence against the practice of Animal 
Magnetism. The reasons for this are given with striking want of lucidity 
and great vagueness, and even here and there are not unmixed with 
falsehood ; and it is easy to see that the Church is reluctant to own the 
real reason. This circular is published in the "Turin Journal" of 
December, 1856, and again in the French " Univers," and reprinted from 
this in the " Journal desDSbats" of January 3rd, 1857. [Add. to 3rd ed,] 


NOTHING perhaps points more directly to a high 
degree of civilization in China than the almost in 
credible density of its population, now rated, according 
to Giitzlaff, at 367 millions of inhabitants. 1 For whether 
we compare countries or ages, we find on the whole that 
civilization keeps pace with population. 

The pertinacious zeal with which the Jesuit missionaries 
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries strove to in 
culcate their own relatively new doctrines into the minds 
of this very ancient nation, and their futile endeavours to 
discover early traces of their own faith in that country, 
left them no time for a profound study of the belief which 
prevails there. Therefore Europe has only lately obtained 
some slight knowledge of the religious state of the Chinese. 
We now know, that is to say, that in China there exists 
first of all a worship of Nature, which is universally 
professed, and dates from the earliest times, even, it 
is alleged, from before the discovery of fire, wherefore 

1 According to a Chinese official Report on the census, printed in 
Pekin, and found by the English in the Chinese Governor s palace on 
entering Canton, China had 396 millions of inhabitants in 1852, and 
allowing for a constant increase, may now have 400 millions. (" Moni- 
teur de la Flotte," end of May, 1857.) 

The Reports of the Russian Clerical Mission in Pekin give the returns 
of 1842 as 414,687,000. 

According to the tables published by the Russian Embassy at Pekin, 
the population, in 1849, amounted to 415 millions. (" Post-Zeitung," 
1858.) [Add. to 3rd ed.] 


animals were sacrificed raw. The sacrifices offered up 
publicly at certain seasons or after great events by the 
Chinese Emperor and the chief dignitaries of the Empire, 
belong to this worship. These sacrifices are dedicated 
first and foremost to the blue sky and to the earth to the 
blue sky in the winter solstice, to the earth in the summer 
solstice and, after these, to every possible power of Nature : 
the sea, mountains, rivers, winds, thunder, rain, fire, <fcc. 
&c. A genius presides over each of these, and each genius 
has several temples. On the other hand, each genius pre 
siding over every single province, town, village, or street, 
nay over family funerals and even sometimes over a mer 
chant s warehouse, has also temples; only, in the two 
last cases they are destined exclusively for private wor 
ship. But public worship is besides offered up to former 
illustrious Emperors, founders of dynasties and to heroes, 
i.e. to all such as have benefited (Chinese) mankind by 
word or deed. Even these have their temples : Confucius 
alone having no less than 1,650 dedicated to him. This 
therefore accounts for the great number of small temples 
found throughout the Empire. With this hero-worship 
too, is associated the private worship offered up by every 
respectable family on the tombs of their ancestors. Now 
besides this worship of Nature and of heroes, which is 
universal, there are three other prevailing religious doc 
trines in China, more with a dogmatical intent. First 
among these is the doctrine of Taossee, founded by Laotse, 
an older contemporary of Confucius. This is the doctrine 
of Reason, as the inner order of the Universe or inherent 
principle of all things, of the great One, the sublime 
Gable-Beam (Taiki) which supports all the Eafters, yet is 
above them (properly the all-pervading Soul of the World) 
and of Tao, i.e. the Way, namely to salvation : that is, to 
redemption from the world and its misery. We have an 
exposition of this doctrine taken from the fountain-head in 


Stanislas Julien s translation (1842) of Laotse s Taotelring, 
in which we find that theTao-doctrine completely harmonizes 
with Buddhism both in meaning and in spirit. This sect 
however seems to have fallen very much into the background, 
and its teachers to be now looked down upon. Secondly, we 
find the wisdom of Confucius, which has special attractions 
for Chinese savants and statesmen. Judging from trans 
lations, it is a rambling, commonplace, predominantly 
political, moral philosophy, without any metaphysical 
support, which has something peculiarly insipid and tire 
some about it. Finally, there exists for the bulk of the 
nation Buddha s sublime doctrine full of love. The name, 
or rather title, of Buddha in China is Fo or Fhu, whilst in 
Tartary the "Victoriously-Perfect" is more frequently 
called by his family-name, Shakia-Muni, and also Burkhan- 
Bakshi; in Birma and Ceylon, he is generally called 
Gotama or Tagdtata, but his original name was Prince 
Siddharta. 1 This religion which, on account of its intrinsic 

1 For the benefit of those who wish to acquire a fuller knowledge of 
Buddhism, I here note down those works belonging to its literature, and 
written in European languages, which I can really recommend, for I 
possess them and know them well ; the omission of a few others, for 
instance of Hodgson s and A. Remusat s books, is intentional. 

1. " Dsanglun, or the Sage and the Fool," in Tibetan and German, 
by I. J. Schmidt, Petersburg, 1843, 2 vols. in 4to, con tains in the preface 
to vol. i. (i.e. the Tibetan volume), from pp. xxxi to xxxviii, a very brief, 
but excellent, sketch of the whole doctrine, admirably calculated for a 
first introduction to the knowledge of it : the whole book even, as a part 
of the Kandshur (canonical books), may be recommended. 2. In the 
Memoranda of the Academy of St. Petersburg are to be found several 
lectures by the same excellent author (I. J. Schmidt), which were 
delivered in German in that Academy in 1829-1832. As they are of 
very great value for the knowledge of this religion, it is to be hoped 
that they will be collected and published all together in Germany. 
3. By the same writer : " Forschungen iiber die Tibeter und 
Mongolen." Petersb. 1829, in 4to. (Investigations concerning the 
Tibetans and Mongols). 4. By the same writer: " Uber die Verwandt- 
schaft der gnostisch-theosophischen Lehren mit dem Buddhaismus," 


excellence and truth, as well as of the great number of its 
followers, may be considered as ranking highest among all 
religions on earth, prevails throughout the greater part of 
Asia, and according to the latest investigator, Spence 

1828. (On the relation between the Gnostic-Theosophic Doctrines and 
Buddhism.) 5. By the same: " Geschichte der Ost-Mongolen," Petersb. 

1 829, in 4to. (History of the Eastern Mongols.) [This is very instructive, 
especially the explanations and appendix, which give long extracts from 
writings on Religion, in which many passages clearly show the deep 
meaning and breathe the genuine spirit of Buddhism. Add. to Srded.] 
6. Two treatises by Schiefner in German, in the " Melanges Asiatiques 
tire s du Bulletin Historico-Philol. de 1 Acad. d. St. Petersburg," Tome 1, 
1851. 7. " Samuel Turner s Journey to the Court of the Teshoo- 
Lama " (at the end), 1801. 8. Bochinger, " La Vie ascdtique chez lea 
Indous et les Bouddhistes," Strasbourg, 1831. 9. In the 7th vol. of 
the "Journal Asiatique," 1825, an extremely beautiful biography of 
Buddha by Deshauterayes. 10. Bournouf, " Introd. a PHist. d. Boud- 
dhisme," vol. i. in 4to, 1844. 11. " Rgya Tsher Kolpa," traduit da 
Tibe"tain, par Foucaux, 1848, in 4to. This is the " Lalita Vistara," i.e. 
life of Buddha, the gospel of the Buddhists. 12. " Foe Koue Ki, relation 
desroyaumes Bouddhiques," traduit du Chinois par Abel Re"musat, 1836, 
in 4to. 13. "Description du Tubet," traduit du Chinois en Russe par 
Bitchourin, et du Russe enFrancais par Klaproth, 1831. 14. Klaproth, 
" Fragments Bouddhiques," printed separately from the " Nouveaa 
Journal Asiatique," Mars, 1831. 15. Spiegel, "De officiis sacerdotum 
Buddhicorum," PaliceetLatine, 1841. 16. The same author s "Anecdote 
Palica," 1845. [17. " Dhammapadam," palice edidet et latine vertit 
Fausboll, Hovnise, 1855. Add. to 3rd ed.] 18. Asiatic Researches, 
vol. vi. Buchanan, " On the Religion of the Burmas," and vol. xx. 
(Calcutta, 1839), Part 2, contains three important articles by Csoma 
Korosi, including Analyses of the Books of the Kandshur. 19. 
Sangermano, " The Burmese Empire," Rome, 1833. 20. Turnour, 
"The Mahawanzo," Ceylon, 1836. 21. Upham, "The Mahavansi, 
Raja Ratnacari et Rajavali," 3 vols. 1833. 22. ejusd. "Doctrine of 
Buddhism," 1839, fol. 23. Spence Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," 
1850. 24. ejusd. " Manual of Buddhism," 1853. The two last books, 
written after a twenty years stay in Ceylon and from oral information 
supplied by the priests there, have given me a deeper insight into the 
essence of the Buddhist dogma than any other work. They deserve to 
be translated into German, but without abridgement, for otherwise the 
best part might be left out. [25. C. F. Koppen, " Die Religion des 


Hardy, numbers 369 millions of believers: that is, far 
more than any other. These three religions, the most 
widely diffused of which, Buddhism, subsists without any 
protection whatever from the State, by its own power 
alone a circumstance which speaks greatly in its favour 
are far from being hostile to one another, and exist quietly 
side by side, nay, harmonize even to a certain extent, 
perhaps by reciprocal influence, so that the sentence: 
" The three doctrines are only one ", has become proverbial. 
The Emperor, as such, professes all three ; still many of 
the Emperors, even up to the most recent times, have been 
especially devoted to Buddhism. This is shown by their 
profound respect for the Dalai-Lama, nay, even for the 
TesJioo-Lama, to whom they unhesitatingly yield prece 
dence. These three religions are neither monotheistic nor 
polytheistic, nor are they even pantheistic Buddhism, at 
any rate, is not ; since Buddha did not look upon a world 
sunk in sin and suffering, whose tenants, all subject to 
death, only subsist for a short time by devouring each 
other, as a manifestation of G-od. Moreover the word 
Pantheism, properly speaking, contains a contradiction ; for 
it denotes a self-destroying conception, and has therefore 
never been understood otherwise than as a polite term of 
expression by those who know what seriousness means. 
It accordingly never entered into the heads of the clever, 
acute philosophers of the eighteenth century, not to take 
Spinoza for an Atheist, on account of his having called the 
world Deus ; on the contrary, this discovery was reserved for 
the sham philosophers of our own times, who know nothing 

Buddha," 1857, a complete compendium of Buddhism, compiled not only 
with great erudition and serious industry but also with intelligence and 
insight from all the other works I have mentioned above and from many 
more besides, which contains all that is essential on the subject. 26. 
" The Life of Buddha," from the Chinese of Palladji, in the " Archiv 
fur wissenschaftliche Kunde von Kussland," edited by Ennan, vol. xv. 
Heft 1, 1856. Add. to 3rd ed.J 


but words: they even pique themselves on the achieve 
ment and accordingly talk about Acomism, the wags ! 
But I would humbly suggest leaving their meanings to 
words in short, calling the world, the world; and gods, 

In their endeavours to acquire knowledge of the state of 
Religion in China, Europeans began as usual, and as the 
Greeks and Romans under similar circumstances had done, 
by first searching for points of contact with their own 
belief. Now as, in their own way of thinking, the concep 
tions of Religion and of Theism were almost identified, or 
at any rate had grown together so closely, that they 
could only be separated with great difficulty ; as moreover, 
till a more accurate knowledge of Asia had reached 
Europe, the very erroneous opinion had been disseminated 
for the purpose of argument e consensu gentium that all 
nations on earth worship a single, or at any rate a highest, 
God, Creator of the Universe : * when they found them 
selves in a country where temples, priests and monasteries 
abounded, they started from the firm assumption that 
Theism would also be found there, though in some very un 
usual form. On seeing these expectations disappointed 
however, and on finding that the very conceptions of 
such things, let alone the words to express them, were 
unknown, it was but natural, considering the spirit in 
which their inquiries were made, that their first reports of 
these religions should refer rather to what they did not, 
than to what they did, contain. Besides, for many reasons, 
it can be no easy task for European heads to enter fully 
into the sense of these faiths. In the first place, they 
are brought up in Optimism, whereas in Asia, existence 
itself is looked upon as an evil and the world as a scene of 

1 This is equivalent to imputing to the Chinese the thought, that 
all princes on earth are tributary to their Emperor. [Add. to 3rd 


misery, where it were better not to find oneself. Another 
reason is to be found in the decided Idealism which is 
essential to Buddhism and -to Hindooism : a view only 
known in Europe as a paradox hardly worth a serious 
thought, advanced by certain eccentric philosophers ; whereas 
in Asia it is even embodied in popular belief. For in Hin- 
doostan it prevails universally as the doctrine of Maj a, and 
in Thibet, the chief seat of the Buddhist Church, it is 
taught in an extremely popular way, a religious comedy 
being performed on occasions of special solemnity, in which 
the Dalai-Lama is represented arguing with the Arch-fiend. 
The former defends Idealism, the latter Realism, and 
among other things the Devil says ; " What is perceived 
through the five sources of all knowledge (the senses), is 
no deception, and what you teach is not true." After a 
long argumentation the matter is decided by a throw of 
the dice: the Realist (the Devil) loses, and is dismissed 
amid general jeering. 1 Keeping this fundamental diffe 
rence in the whole way of thinking steadily in view, we 
shall find it not only excusable, but even natural, that in 
their investigation of the Asiatic religions Europeans 
should at first have stopped short at the negative stand 
point; though, properly speaking, it has nothing to do 
with the matter. We therefore find a great deal re 
ferring to this negative stand-point which in no way ad 
vances our positive knowledge ; it all however amounts 
to this: that Monotheism an exclusively Jewish doc 
trine, to be sure is alien to Buddhists and in general to 
the Chinese. For instance, in the " Lettres Edifiantes " a 
we find : " The Buddhists, whose views on the migration of 

1 " Description du Tubet," traduite du Chinois enRusse par Bitchourin, 
et du Russe en Francais par Klaproth, Paris, 1831, p. 65. Also in the 
"Asiatic Journal" new series, vol. i. p. 15. [Koppen, "Die 
Lamaische Hierarchie," p. 315. Add. to 3rd ed.] 

2 " Lettres Edifiantes," Edit, de 1819, vol. viii. p. 46. 


souls are universally adopted, are accused of Atheism." 
In the "Asiatic Kesearches" (vol. vi. p. 255) we find: 
"The religion of the Birmans (Buddhism) shows them to 
be a nation far advanced beyond the barbarism of a 
wild state and greatly influenced by religious opinions, 
but which nevertheless has no knowledge of a Supreme 
Being, Creator and Preserver of the world. Yet the sys 
tem of morality recommended in their fables is perhaps 
as good as any other taught by the religious doctrines 
which prevail among mankind. And again, p. 258 : " The 
followers of Gotama (i.e. of Buddha) are strictly speaking 
Atheists." Ibid., p. 258 : " Gotama s sect consider the 
belief in a divine Being, Creator of the world, to be highly 
impious." Ibid., p. 268, Buchanan relates, that Atuli, the 
Zarado or High-Priest of the Buddhists at Ava, in an 
article upon his religion which he presented to a Catholic 
bishop, " counted the doctrine, that there is a Being who 
has created the world and all things in it and is alone 
worthy of adoration, among the six damnable heresies." 
Sangennano relates precisely the same thing, 1 and closes 
the list of the six grave heresies with the words : " The last 
of these impostors taught, that there is a Supreme Being, 
the Creator of the world and of all things in it, and that he 
alone is worthy of adoration." Colebrooke too says: 8 
" The sects of Jaina and Buddha are really atheistic, for 
they acknowledge no Creator of the world, nor any 
Supreme ruling Providence." I. J. Schmidt 3 likewise 
says : " The system of Buddhism knows no eternal, un 
created, single, divine Being, having existed before all 
Time, who has created all that is visible and invisible. 

1 " Description of the Burman Empire," Eome, 1833, p. 81. 

2 Colebrooke, " Transactions of the Eoyal Asiatic Society," vol. i. j 
" Essay on the Philosophy of the Hindoos," published also among his 
" Miscellaneous Essays," p. 236. 

* " Investigations concerning the Tibetans and Mongols," p. 180. 


This idea is quite foreign to Buddhism and there is not the 
slightest trace of it anywhere in Buddhistic books." We 
find the learned sinologist Morrison too l not less desirous 
to discover traces of a God in the Chinese dogmas and 
ready to put the most favourable construction upon every 
thing which seems to point in that direction; yet he is 
finally obliged to own that nothing of the kind can be 
clearly discovered. Where he explains the words Thung and 
Tsing, i.e. repose and movement, as that on which Chinese 
cosmogony is based, he renews this inquiry and concludes 
it with the words : " It is perhaps impossible to acquit 
this system of the accusation of Atheism." And even 
recently Upham 2 says : " Buddhism presents to us a world 
without a moral ruler, guide or creator." The G-erman 
sinologist Neumann too, says in his treatise 3 mentioned 
further on : "In China, where neither Mahometans nor 
Christians found a Chinese word to express the theological 

conception of the Deity The words God, soul, 

spirit, as independent of Matter and ruling it arbitrarily, 
are utterly unknown in the Chinese language. . . . This 
range of ideas has become so completely one with the lan 
guage itself, that the first verse of the book of G-enesis 
cannot without considerable circumlocution be translated 
into genuine Chinese." It was this very thing that led Sir 
George Staunton to publish a book in 1848 entitled : " An 
Inquiry into the proper mode of rendering the word God 
in translating the Sacred Scriptures into the Chinese lan 
guage." * 

1 Morrison, " Chinese Dictionary," Macao, 1815, and following years, 
vol. i. p. 217. 

8 Upham, "History and Doctrine of Buddhism," London, 1829, 
p. 102. 

3 Neumann, "Die Natur-und Religions-Philosophic der Chinesen, nacn 
den Werken des Tchu-hi," pp. 10, 11. 

4 The following account given by an American sea-captain, who had 
come to Japan, is very amusing from the naivete with which he assumes 


My intention in giving the above quotations and expla 
nations, is merely to prepare the way for the extremely re 
markable passage, which it is the object of the present 
chapter to communicate, and to render that passage more 
intelligible to the reader by first making him realize the 
standpoint from which these investigations were made, and 
thus throwing light upon the relation between them and 
their subject. For Europeans, when investigating this 
matter in China in the way and in the spirit described, 
always inquiring for the supreme principle of all things, 
the power that rules the world, &c. &c., had often been re 
ferred to that which is designated by the word Tien (Engl. 
T heen). Now, the more usual meaning of this word is 
" Heaven," as Morrison also says in his dictionary ; still it 
is a well-known thing that Tien is used in a figurative 
sense also, and then has a metaphysical signification. In 
the " Lettres Edifiantes " l we find the following explana 
tion : " Hing-tien is the material, visible heaven ; Chin-tien 
the spiritual and invisible heaven. Sonnerat too, 2 in his 
travels in East-India and China, says : " When the Jesuits 
disputed with the rest of the missionaries as to the mean 
ing of the word Tien, whether it was Heaven or God, the 

that mankind consists exclusively of Jews. For the " Times " of the 
18th October, 1854, relates that an American ship, under command of 
Captain Burr, had arrived in Jeddo Bay, and gives his account of the 
favourable reception he met with there, at the end of which we find : 
" He likewise asserts the Japanese to be a nation of Atheists, denying 
the existence of a God and selecting as an object of worship either the 
spiritual Emperor at Meaco, or any other Japanese. He was told by 
the interpreters that formerly their religion was similar to that of 
China, but that the belief in a supreme Being has latterly been entirely 
discarded (this is a mistake) and he professed to be much shocked at 
Deejunoskee (a slightly Americanised Japanese), declaring his belief in 
the Deity. [Add. to 3rd ed.] 

1 Edition de, 1819, vol. xi. p. 461. 

* Book iv. ch. i. 


Chinese looked upon these foreigners as restless folk and 
drove them away to Macao." It was at any rate through 
this word that Europeans could first hope to find the track 
of that Analogy of Chinese Metaphysic with their own 
faith, which had been so persistently sought for ; and it was 
doubtless owing to investigations of this kind that the 
results we find communicated in an Essay entitled " Chinese 
Theory of the Creation " were attained. 1 As to Choo-foo- 
tze, called also Choo-hi, who is mentioned in it, I observe 
that he lived in the twelfth century according to our 
chronology, and that he is the most celebrated of all the 
Chinese men of learning ; because he has collected to 
gether all the wisdom of his predecessors and reduced 
it to a system. His work is in our days the basis of 
all Chinese instruction, and his authority of the greatest 
weight. In the passage I allude to, we find : " The word 
Teen would seem to denote the highest among the great 
or above all what is great on earth : but in practice its 
vagueness of signification is beyond all comparison greater, 
than that of the term Heaven in European languages. . . . 
Choo-f oo-tze tells us that to affirm, that heaven has a man 
(i.e. a sapient being) there to judge and determine crimes, 
should not by any means be said ; nor, on the other hand, 
must it be affirmed, that there is nothing at all to exercise 
a supreme control over these things. 

" The same author being asked about the heart of heaven, 
whether it was intelligent or not, answered : it must not be 
said that the mind of nature is unintelligent, but it does 
not resemble the cogitations of man. . . . 

" According to one of their authorities, Teen is call d 
ruler or sovereign (Choo), from the idea of the supreme 
control, and another expresses himself thus : Had heaven 
(Teen) 110 designing mind, then it must happen, that the 

1 To be found in the " Asiatic Journal," vol. xxii. anno 1826, pp. 41 
and 42. 

B B 


cow might bring forth a horse, and on the peach-tree be 
produced the blossom of the pear/ On the other hand it 
is said, that the mind of Heaven is deducible from what is 
the Will of mankind ! " 

The agreement between this last sentence and my doc 
trine is so striking and so astonishing, that if this passage 
had not been printed full eight years after my own work 
had appeared, I should no doubt have been accused of 
having taken my fundamental thought from it. For there 
are three well-known modes of repelling the attack of new 
thoughts : firstly, by ignoring them, secondly by denying 
them, and lastly by asserting that they are not new, but 
were known long before. But the fact that my funda 
mental thought was formed quite independently of this 
Chinese authority, is firmly established by the reasons I 
have given ; for I may hope to be believed when I affirm, 
that I am unacquainted with the Chinese language and 
consequently unable to derive thoughts for my own use 
from original Chinese sources unknown to others. On 
further investigation I have elicited the fact, that the 
passage I have quoted, was most probably, nay almost 
certainly, taken from Morrison s " Chinese Dictionary," 
where it may be found under the sign Teen : only I have 
no opportunity of verifying it. In an article by Neumann 2 

1 A note of Schopenhauer s referring to this says : " According 
to letters from Doss" (a friend of S. s), "dated 26th February and 
8th June, 1857, the passages I have here quoted are to be found in 
Morrison s Chinese Dictionary, Macao, 1815, vol. i. p. 576, under ^C 
Teen, although in a slightly different order, in nearly the same words. 
The important passage at the end alone differs and is as follows: 
Heaven makes the mind of mankind its mind: in most ancient dis 
cussions respecting Heaven, its mind, or will, was divined (it stands 
thus, and not derived) from what was the will of mankind. Neumann 
translated this passage for Doss, independently of Morrison s rendering, 
and the end was : Through the heart of the people Heaven is usually 
revealed. " [Editor s Note.] 

3 Neumann, "Die Natur-und Religions-Philosophic der Chinten, 


there are some passages which have evidently a common 
source with those here quoted from the " Asiatic Journal." 
But they are written with the vagueness of expression which 
is so frequent in Germany, and excludes clear comprehen 
sion. Besides, this translator of Choo-hi evidently did not 
himself quite understand the original ; though by this no 
blame need be implied, when we consider the enormous diffi 
culty of the Chinese language for Europeans, and the 
insufficiency of the means for studying it. Meanwhile 
it does not give us the enlightenment desired. We must 
therefore console ourselves with the hope, that as a 
freer intercourse with China has now been established, 
some Englishman may one day give us more minute and 
thorough information concerning the above-mentioned 
dogma, of which we have hitherto received such deplorably 
imperfect accounts. 

nach dera Werke des Tschu -hi," an article in Illgen s " Periodical 
for Historical Theology," vol. vii. 1837, from pp. GO to 63. 


FOE, reasons I have stated in the beginning, confirma- 
mations of the rest of my doctrine are excluded from 
my present task. Still, in concluding, I may perhaps be 
allowed to mate a general reference to Ethics. 

From time immemorial, all nations have acknowledged 
that the world has a moral, as well as a physical, import. 
Everywhere nevertheless the matter was only brought to 
an indistinct consciousness, which, in seeking for its ade 
quate expression, has clothed itself in various images and 
myths. These are the different Religions. Philosophers, 
on their side, have at all times endeavoured to attain clear 
comprehension of the thing and, notwithstanding their 
differences in other respects, all, excepting the strictly 
materialistic, philosophical systems, agree in this one point : 
that what is most important, nay, alone essential, in our 
whole existence, that on which everything depends, the real 
meaning, pivot or point (sit venia verbo) of it, lies in the 
morality of human actions. But as to the sense of this, as to 
the ways and means, as to the possibility of the thing, they 
all again quite disagree, and find themselves before an abyss 
of obscurity. Thus it follows, that it is easy to preach, 
but difficult to found, morality. It is just because that 
point is determined by our conscience, that it becomes the 
touchstone of all systems ; since we demand, and rightly 
demand, that Metaphysic should give support to Ethics : 
and now arises the difficult problem to show that, con 
trary to all experience, the physical order of things 


depends upon a moral one, and to find out a connection 
between the force which, by acting according to eternal 
laws of Nature, gives the world stability, and the morality 
which has its seat in the human breast. This is therefore 
the rock on which the best thinkers have foundered. 
Spinoza occasionally tacks a moral theory on to his Pan 
theistic Fatalism by means of sophisms, but more often 
leaves morality terribly in the lurch. Kant, when theo 
retical Eeason is exhausted, sends his Categorical Im 
perative, laboriously worked out of mere conceptions, 1 on 
the stage, as deus ex machina, with an absolute ought. But 
the mistake he made by it only became quite clear when 
Fichte, who always took outbidding for outdoing, had spun 
it out with Christian Wolfian prolixity and wearisomeness 
to a complete system of moral fatalism in his " System of 
Moral Doctrine," and subsequently presented it more 
briefly in his last pamphlet. 2 

Now, from this point of view, a system which places the 
reality of all existence and the root of the whole of Nature 
in the Will, and in this will places the root of the 
world, must undeniably carry with it, to say the least, a 
strong prejudice in its favour. For, by a direct and 
simple way, it reaches, nay, already holds in its hand 
before coming to Ethics, what other systems try to reach 
by roundabout, ever dubious by-paths. Nor indeed can 
any other road ever lead to this but the insight, that the 
active and impulsive force in Nature which presents this 
perceptible world to our intellect, is identical with the 
will within us. The only Metaphysic which really and 
immediately supports Ethics, is that one which is itself 
primarily ethical and constituted out of the material of 
Ethics. Therefore I had a far greater right to call my 

1 See my prize-essay " On the Fundament of Morality," 6. 

2 "Die Wissenschaftslehre in allgemeinen Umrisse " (The Doctrine 
of Science in a general outline), 18, 10. 


Metaphysic "Ethics," than Spinoza, with whom the word 
sounds almost like irony, and whose " Ethics " might be 
said to bear the name like lucus a non lucendo ; since it is 
only by means of sophistry that he has been able to tack his 
morality on to a system, from which it would never logi 
cally proceed. In general, moreover, he disavows it down 
right with revolting assurance. 1 On the whole, I can 
confidently assert, that there has never yet been a philo 
sophical system so entirely cut out of one piece, so com 
pletely without any joins or patches, as mine. As I have 
said in my preface, it is the unfolding of a single thought, 
by which the ancient dirXovQ b pi/doc rrjg a\r]0elag etyv 2 is again 
confirmed. Then we must still take into consideration here, 
that freedom and responsibility those pillars on which all 
morality rests can certainly be asserted in words without 
the assumption of the aseity 3 of the will ; but that it is 
absolutely impossible to think them without it. Whoever 
wishes to dispute this, must first invalidate the axiom, 
stated long ago by the Schoolmen : operari sequitur esse 
(i. e. the acts of each being follow from the nature of that 
being), or we must demonstrate the fallacy of the inference 
to be drawn from it: unde esse, inde operari. Respon 
sibility has for its condition freedom ; but freedom has for 
its condition primariness. For I will according to what I 
am ; therefore I must be according to what I will. Aseity 
of the will is therefore the first condition of any Ethics 
based on serious thought, and Spinoza is right when he says : 
JEa res libera dicetur, quce ex sola suce naturce necessitate exis- 
tit, et a se sola ad agendum determinatur* Dependence, 
as to existence and nature, united with freedom as to action, 
is a contradiction. Were Prometheus to call the creatures 
of his making to account for their actions, they would be 

1 For instance, " Eth." iv. prop. 37, Schol. 2. 

3 The language of truth is simple. [Tr. s add.] 

8 Self-existence 5 self-dependence. 4 " Elk." i. def. 7. [Tr.] 


quite justified in answering : " We could only act according 
to our being : for actions arise from nature. If our actions 
were bad, the fault lay in our nature : this is thine own 
work ; punish thyself." l And it is just the same with 
the imperishableness of our true being in death ; for this 
cannot be seriously thought without the aseity of that 
being, and can even hardly be conceived without a funda 
mental separation of the will from the intellect. This last 
point is peculiar to my philosophy ; but Aristotle had 
already proved the first thoroughly, by showing at length 
how that alone can be imperishable which has not arisen, 
and that the two conceptions condition each other : 2 Tavra 
CL\\{]\OLQ aKoXovdet, /cat TO re dyivr]Tov afyQapTOv, KCLL TO 
evriTor. . . . TO yap yf.vt}Tov KOI TO tyQapTov 
d\\ri\oiQ. d yevrjTOV TI, tydapTov avayKij 3 (hcec 
mutuo se sequuntur, atque ingenerabile est incorruptibile, et 
incorruptibile ingenerabile. . . . generabile enim et corruptible 
mutuo se sequuntur. si generabile est, et corruptibile esse 
necesse est). All those among the ancient philosophers who 
taught an immortality of the soul, understood it in this 
way ; nor did it enter into the head of any of them to assign 
infinite permanence to a being having arisen in any way. 
We have evidence of the embarrassment to which the con 
trary assumption leads, in the ecclesiastical controversy 
between the advocates of Pre-existence, Creation and Tra- 

The Optimism moreover of all philosophical systems is 
a point closely allied to Ethics which must never fail in 
any of them, as in duty bound : for the world likes to hear 
that it is commendable and excellent, and philosophers like 

1 Compare "Parerga," i. p. 115, et seqg. (p. 133 of 2nd ed.). 

8 Aristot. "De Ccelo," i. 12. 

3 " These two go together, the uncreated is imperishable, and the 
imperishable is uncreated. . . . For the created and the perishable go 
together. . . . If a thing is created it is necessarily perishable." [Tr.] 


to please the world. With me it is different : I have seen 
what pleases the world, and therefore shall not swerve a 
step from the path of truth in order to please it. Thus 
in this point also my system varies from all the others 
and stands by itself. But when all the others have com 
pleted their demonstrations to the song of the best of 
worlds, quite at the last, at the background of the system, 
like a tardy avenger of the monster, like a spirit from 
the tomb, like the statue in Don Juan, there comes the 
question as to the origin of evil, of the monstrous, name 
less evil, of the awful, heartrending misery in the world : 
and here they are speechless, or can only find words, empty, 
sonorous words, with which to settle this heavy reckoning. 
On the other hand, a system, in whose basis already the 
existence of evil is interwoven with the existence of the 
world, need not fear that apparition any more than a 
vaccinated child need fear the smallpox. Now this is 
the case when freedom is placed in the esse instead of in 
the operari and sin, evil and the world then proceed from 
that esse. Moreover it is fair to let me, as a serious 
man, only speak of things which I really know and only 
make use of words to which I attach a quite definite 
meaning ; since this alone can be communicated with se 
curity to others, and Yauvenargues is quite right in 
saying : " la clarte est la bonne foi des philosophies " There 
fore if I use the words Will, Will to live, this is no 
mere ens rationis, no hypostasis set up by me, nor is it a 
term of vague, uncertain meaning ; on the contrary, I 
refer him, who asks what it is, to his own inner self, 
where he will find it entire, nay, in colossal dimensions, as 
a true ens realissimum. I have accordingly not explained 
the world out of the unknown, but rather out of that 
which is better known than anything, and known to us 
moreover in quite a different way from all the rest. As 
to the paradoxical character finally, with which the ascetic 


results of my Ethics have been reproached, these results 
had given umbrage even to Jean Paul, otherwise so 
favourably disposed towards me, and had induced Herr 
Riitze also (not knowing that the only course to be 
adopted against me was silence) to write a book against 
me in 1820, with the best intentions. They have since 
become the standing rock of offence in my philosophy; 
but I beg my readers to take into consideration, that it is 
only in this north-western portion of the ancient con 
tinent, and even here only in Protestant countries, that the 
term paradoxical can be applied to such things ; whereas 
throughout the whole of vast Asia everywhere indeed, 
where the detestable doctrine of Islam has not prevailed 
over the ancient and profound Religions of mankind by dint 
of fire and sword they would rather have to fear the re 
proach of being commonplace. I console myself therefore 
with the thought that, when referred to the Upanishads 
of the Sacred Vedas, my Ethics are quite orthodox, 1 and 
that even with primitive, genuine Christianity they stand 
in no contradiction. As to all other accusations of heresy, 
I am well armoured and my breast is fortified with triple 

1 I refer those who may wish to be briefly, yet thoroughly, informed 
on this point, to the late Pasteur Bochinger s work : " La vie contem 
plative, ascetique et monastique chez lez peuples Bouddhistes," Stras 
bourg, 1831. 



r I " HE undoubtedly striking confirmations recorded in 
JL this treatise, which have been contributed to my 
doctrine by the Empirical Sciences since its first appearance, 
but independently of it, will unquestionably have been 
followed by many more : for how small is the portion 
which the individual can find time, opportunity and 
patience to become acquainted with, of the branch of litera 
ture dedicated to Natural Science which is so actively culti 
vated in all languages ! Even what I have here mentioned 
however, inspires me with confidence that the time for my 
philosophy is ripening ; and it is with heartfelt joy that I 
see the Empirical Sciences gradually come forward in the 
course of time, as witnesses above suspicion, to testify to 
the truth of a doctrine, concerning which a politic, inviolable 
silence has been maintained for seventeen years by our 
" philosophers by profession " (some of them give them 
selves this characteristic name, nay even that of " philoso 
phers by trade ") ; so that it had been left to Jean Paul, who 
was ignorant of their tactics, to draw attention to it. For 
it may have appeared to them a delicate matter to praise 
it, and, on due consideration, they may have thought it not 
altogether safe to blame it either, and may have judged it 
unnecessary besides to show the public, as belonging neither 
to the profession nor to the trade, that it is quite possible 
to philosophize very seriously without being either unin 
telligible or wearisome. Why compromise themselves there 
fore with it, since no one betrays himself by silence and 


the favourite secretive method was ready at hand, the ap 
proved specific against merit ; this much was besides soon 
agreed upon: that, considering the circumstances of the 
times, my philosophy did not possess the right qualifica 
tions for being taught professionally. Now the true, ulti 
mate aim of all philosophy, with them, is to be taught 
professionally, so much and so truly is it so, that were 
Truth to come down stark naked from lofty Olympus, but 
were what she brought with her not found to correspond 
to the requirements called for by the circumstances of the 
times, or to the purposes of their mighty superiors, these 
gentlemen "of the profession and trade" would verily 
waste no time with the indecent nymph, but would hasten 
to bow her out again to her Olympus, then place three 
fingers on their lips and return quietly to their compendia. 
For assuredly he who makes love to this nude beauty, to 
this fascinating syren, to this portionless bride, will have 
to forego the good fortune of becoming a Government and 
University professor. He may even congratulate himself 
if he becomes a garret-philosopher. On the other hand, 
his audience will consist, not of hungry undergraduates 
anxious to turn their learning to account, but rather of 
those rare, select thinkers, thinly sprinkled among the 
countless multitude, who arise from time to time, almost as 
a freak of Nature. And a grateful posterity is beckoning 
from afar. But they can have no idea of the beauty and 
loveliness of Truth, of the delight there is in pursuing her 
track, of the rapture in possessing her, who can imagine 
that anyone who has once looked her in the face can ever 
desert, deny, or distort her for the sake of the venal 
approval, of the offices, of the money or the titles of such 
people. Better to grind spectacle- glasses like Spinoza or 
draw water like Cleanthes. Henceforth they may take 
whatever course they like : Truth will not change her nature 
to accommodate " the trade." Serious philosophy has now 


really outgrown Universities, where Science stands under 
State-guardianship. It may however some day perhaps come 
to be counted among the occult sciences ; while the spurious 
kind, that ancilla theologice in Universities, that inferior 
counterfeit of Scholasticism, for which the highest criterion 
of philosophical truth lies in the country catechism, will 
make our Lecture-halls doubly re-echo. " You, that way : 
we, this way." * 

1 Shakespeare, " Love s Labour s Lost." 






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